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Talks in Ireland in 1887 




% \z Knickerbocker IJresa 




Press of 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York 


and at once to solve the group of problems so long un- 
fortunately known as " the Irish question." 

To the kindness and interest of the ladies and gentle- 
men I have mentioned I desire to acknowledge my in- 
debtedness for a most delightful and instructive summer ; 
and those who were my friends, acquaintances, and hosts 
in Ireland will well know that, if I do not thank them 
personally in this place, I am not the less grateful for 
their kindness and hospitality. Whatever the event of 
the future, may it bring them nothing but peace and 
happiness ! 



Page 43, for Clonmell, 7-ead Clonmel. 

Page 158, for Sixth Massachusetts Volunteers, read Ninth. 



The Agrarian Agitation and the Land Acts I 



A Meeting of a Club in Dublin « . . . . 19 

The Lord Mayor 24 

A Unionist .......... 27 

A Dublin Business Man ....... 33 

A Fenian .......... 37 

A Catholic Professor ........ 41 

A Pessimistic Farmer ........ 44 

A Prosperous Farmer ........ 45 

Talks in West Meath 50 

In a Smoking-Room in County Carlow ..... 56 

A County Carlow Landlord ....... 61 

A Miller 67 

A Nationalist Leader in County Kilkenny .... 68 

A Kilkenny Manufacturer 74 



A Cork Nationalist 78 

A Boycotted Farmer in County Cork . . . . .80 

A " Plan of Campaign " Estate ...... 89 

A Gentleman Farmer in County Cork ..... 96 

An Estate in County Waterford 98 



A Waterford Farmer 105 

Tipperary Farmers ........ 106 

A Tipperary Land Agent . . . . . . .109 

Driving with a Magistrate in Tipperary . . . . .112 

A Tipperary Landlord . . . . . . . .117 

A Unionist Priest 127 

National Leaguers at Killarney . . . . . .132 

Kerry Outrages 133 

A Nationalist Editor in Kerry ...... 140 

A Kerry Land Agent ........ 143 

After Eviction — Herbartstown and Bodyke .... 147 



Why Galway Wants Home Rule 155 

Walking in Connemara . . . . . . . .158 

What They Say at Clifden . . . . . . .175 

Jottings in Westport and Sligo 187 

Connaught Land-Leaguers ....... 183 

Jottings in Westport and Sligo . . . . . .187 

A Day with a Popular Land Agent ..... 195 

A Day and a Night with Nationalists at Ballinasloe . . 203 
A " Plan of Campaign " Town 210 



Gweedore — an Eviction . . . . . . .219 

About Falcarragh . . . . . . . . .228 

With a Drummer in Donegal ...... 232 

A Manufacturer in County Tyrone ..... 240 

Chance Acquaintances at Dungannon ..... 243 

Some Belfast Merchants 251 

Some Belfast Professional Men ...... 272 

Some Country Nationalists ....... 282 

Some Orangemen ......... 289 

Conclusion 296 


It is the general belief that a change in the social and 
political condition of Ireland must soon be accomplished, 
a change so fundamental as to be properly called a revo- 
lution. The system of " landlordism " is to be superseded, 
we are told, by "peasant proprietorship," the govern- 
ment of Great Britain by Home Rule. Such changes 
may, perhaps, be effected without bloodshed, but not, 
certainly, without intense excitement. The excitement 
that out of the ruins of the old parties has created two 
new parties, the Home Rulers and the Unionists, and 
that in Ireland nicknames the Unionists "traitors " and 
the Home Rulers "rebels," must, to some degree, blind 
men's eyes and deafen their ears. The questions about 
to be solved in Ireland, the necessity or the reverse of 
landlordism, and the proper limitation of local indepen- 
dence, involve principles that are at the root of all society 
and government, and claim the interest of serious-minded 
citizens in any country. Especially do these questions 
deserve the careful attention of the American people, 
since Irish politics perpetually exercise no indirect in- 
fluence on our own, and we cannot help being important 
factors in Irish affairs. Books upon the subject are so 
numerous that some excuse seems needed for the publi- 
cation of another, but, as a rule, the books and articles 
we read are the controversial statements of professed 


partisans, so that place may, perhaps, still be found for 
an uncolored record, however incomplete, of thought and 
conduct in Ireland at the present time. 

Last summer I spent rather over four months in Ire- 
land, from the beginning of July to the early days of 
November. Letters of introduction were, with the 
greatest kindness, furnished me by W. E. H. Lecky the 
Marquis of Sligo, Lady O'Hagan, Mrs: Penrose Fitzger- 
ald, Sir Louis Mallet, Sir James Caird, and Sir George 
Young, to representative Unionists, and to represen- 
tative Nationalists by the Hon. W. R. Grace of New 
York, John E. Ellis, M. P., Mrs. Green, A. P. Graves, 
and Charles E. Mallet of London. In Ireland, the 
Honorary Secretary of the Irish National League, Tim- 
othy Harrington, M. P., most courteously gave me a cir- 
cular-letter which secured me the hospitable and serious 
attention of Nationalists from Kerry to Donegal. Every 
person I met I tried to draw into conversation upon the 
condition of the country, and the reasons that made 
them desire Home Rule, or oppose it. Full notes were 
taken of every conversation, however apparently unim- 
portant, and, on reading them over, I found that they 
contained records of talks with over two hundred people, 
including officials, landlords, land agents, priests, farmers, 
professional men, merchants, shopkeepers, commercial 
travellers, and laborers. Four months is, perhaps, not 
long enough to find out much about a country so vari- 
ously interesting as Ireland. If I can, however, succeed 
in making the reader feel as though he had seen and 
heard what passed in my presence during those four 
months, this little book may have been worth the reading. 
It will, at least, suggest some of the difficulties to be met 
by any statesman and by any nation that proposes finally 




In the volume of the " State Papers " for 1557, there is 
a despatch from the Lord Deputy to Queen Elizabeth, 
recommending the appointment for Ireland of " Commis- 
sioners to settle the rent " to be taken by landlords from 
their tenants, and also of a " Commission to compound 
for arrears." ' That the legislation of the last few years 
in regard to the tenure of land in Ireland has been along 
the lines suggested more than three hundred years ago, 
proves that special and permanent conditions have iso- 
lated the Irish people from the general tendency of civil- 
ization, a tendency that has invariably been from " status " 
to " contract," from perpetual state interference to the 
greatest possible freedom of individual action. 

" That condition of society in which the land suitable 
for tillage can be regarded as a mere commodity, the 
subject of trade, and can be let to the highest bidder in 
an open market, has never, except under special circum- 
stances, existed in Ireland." 2 This fact is the reason 
for the existence of the "Irish Land Question." Under 

1 T. M. Healy : " A Word for Ireland," 1886, p. 7. 
8 " Report of the ' Bessborough ' Commission," 1881, p. 4. 



the early tribal system the land was owned by the tribe 
in common, with the exception of a certain portion that 
was held by an elective chief for the time being. No 
permanent interest in the land existed under this system, 
" tanistry," as it was called, and no people has ever 
become civilized till it has been discarded. Such indefi- 
niteness of individual rights was abhorrent to English 
notions of law and order, and wherever the conquering 
power of England extended, the chiefs or their succes- 
sors were held to be the owners of the soil, and the people 
tenants at will or from year to year. This change, if it 
had come about by imperceptible stages and naturally, as 
in England, or even if it had been enforced throughout 
the whole country and at once, would have been acqui- 
esced in and would have made for civilization ; but the 
conquest of Ireland was an intermittent and piecemeal 
conquest, that for centuries kept the country in con- 
fusion. Within the " pale " English law prevailed ; out- 
side, anarchy mitigated by survivals of tribal customs. 
Later came the period of " plantations." Under Eliza- 
beth the vast property of the Desmonds was confiscated. 
In the times of the first Stuarts, Ulster was planted. By 
the "Act of Settlement," in 1653, Ireland was again dis- 
tributed among adventurers and soldiers, and the natives 
were removed beyond the Shannon. Under William III. 
over a million acres were escheated, and u when he died 
there did not remain in the hands of Catholics one sixth 
of the lands which their grandfathers held " after the 
passing of the Act of Settlement. During all these cen- 
turies it is clear that the tenure of land was not regu- 
lated by contract. When the original occupiers were 
allowed to remain, they remained as serfs rather than as 
tenants, and when they were replaced by others the new 


settlers were selected for special reasons, military, re- 
ligious, or political. 

To this long continuance of social confusion are due 
the facts that especially characterize the " Irish Land 
Question " : the low standard of living among the peas- 
antry ; the absence of improvements by the landlords ; 
and the limitation of industry to agriculture. The 
"potato," introduced in the early part of the seventeenth 
century, soon became the popular crop of the country, 
for " it was easily raised, the yield was great, and the 
produce was too bulky to be carried away by plunderers." 
Improvements by a landlord are the result of agree- 
ment or contract, and as the tenants came in only by 
custom or favor they were naturally neither expected 
nor demanded. Moreover, in the tribal period the chiefs 
certainly made no " improvements," building no fences 
for their people, for the people were too little civilized to 
need more than they could do themselves ; and in the 
later period the new landlords made no " improvements," 
for they were often needy adventurers, and even a rich 
man would be beggared by building houses and fences 
for a tenantry so numerous and with such small holdings. 
Manufactures were naturally slow to arise in such a 
society. Even in England, manufactures were confined 
chiefly to the northern counties, to the neighborhood 
of the large coal fields, and in Ireland coal of a good 
quality is not to be found. Two manufactures only 
attained prosperity, those of linen and of wool, for the 
climate and soil of Ulster were peculiarly suited to the 
growth of flax, and the wool of the Irish sheep was 
unusually fine ; but the woollen industry was practically 
destroyed by Act of Parliament under the influence of 
the mistaken political economy of the eighteenth century. 


During the French and the Peninsular wars farming 
became exceptionally profitable, and under the protective 
tariff the Irish farmers enjoyed almost a monopoly, at 
artificial prices, in supplying English markets. Between 
1780 and 1846 flour mills sprang up like magic wherever 
there was water-power, and great quantities of wheat and 
wheaten flour were exported. In the south of Ireland 
the grass-lands were broken up and planted with this 
lucrative crop. 

In 1795 the franchise was extended to Catholics, with 
freeholds of the value of forty shillings a year, and as the 
restrictions on the holding of land by Catholics had been 
before this time repealed, all restraints on subdivision 
were cast aside, and an enormous number of small hold- 
ings replaced the comparatively large farms of earlier 
times. For a while all went well. Meadow-land, and 
even bog moor, was found capable of producing excel- 
lent crops of the best wheat and the largest potatoes. 
" But how were these enormous crops grown ? By 
precipitating or rendering soluble the phosphates. How 
was this done ? By skimming off and burning into 
ashes the whole of the upper two inches of the surface 
of the ancient grass lands, the very cream and marrow 
of the land, where for years, and in many cases for centu- 
ries, lay the accumulated vegetable matter of the soil." ] 
Land was let for this purpose for two or three guineas 
per rood by the season, and at a merely nominal outlay 
a crop was produced that would realize from ^"8 to ^n 
per acre. a Mountain bogs were prepared for potato 
planting with equal simplicity ; the land was limed, 
ploughed, and sown, and then all covered with guano 
and clay. The gain was enormous, and the harvest left 

1 William Pilkington : " Help for Ireland," 1887, p. 4. 2 Id. 


the land, " which had hitherto been scarcely worth one 
shilling per acre, in excellent order for sowing corn 
crops or grass seeds, and permanently worth at least £i 
per acre." ! The practice of land burning extended 
over Ireland. " Three fourths of the arable land in the 
provinces of Munster, Leinster, and Connaught have 
been treated in this destructive manner." Life was easy, 
and early marriages became the rule. In 1847 the popu- 
lation had risen to nine millions, having more than 
doubled in fifty years, while at the same time the food- 
producing power of the land had decreased. The 
neglect to use fresh seed predisposed the potatoes to dis- 
ease. Partial famines occurred every few years during 
the first half of the century, and in 1847 the potato crop 
was a total failure. In 1851 the population of Ireland 
was six millions and a half. 

A condition suitable for freedom of contract in respect 
to land, it was clear, had not yet been reached in Ireland, 
for the farmers were ignorant and short-sighted, paying 
fancy prices, fines, and bonuses gladly for the posses- 
sion of land as for a share in a lottery, and the landlords 
had complete control of the only means of subsistence. 

In 1843 a commission, the " Devon " Commission, was 
appointed to inquire "into the state of the law and 
practice in respect to the occupation of land in Ireland," 
and in 1845 its report was presented to Parliament. The 
Ulster custom of " Tenant Right " was fully described, 
by which a tenant is allowed to " obtain from his succes- 
sor a sum of money, partly in remuneration of his ex- 
penditure and partly as a price paid for the possession 
of land which the new tenant would have no other 
means of acquiring." On the 9th of June, 1845, Lord 
1 Trench : " Realities of Irish Life," London, ch. vii. 


Stanley introduced a bill " for the purpose of providing 
compensation to tenants in Ireland, in certain cases, on 
being dispossessed of their holdings, for such improve- 
ments as they may have made during their tenancy," 
and immediately afterwards Mr. Sharman Crawford 
moved for leave to bring in a " Tenant Right Bill," but 
both were rejected. The " famine " was followed by a 
series of evictions on an enormous scale, and in 1850 
there was organized " The Tenant League," to establish 
the principles that " a fair valuation of rent be made 
between landlord and tenant in Ireland"; that "the 
tenant should not be disturbed in his possession so long 
as he paid such rent " ; and that " the tenant should 
have a right to sell his interest, with all its incidents, at 
the highest market value." 1 

In 1848 the "Encumbered Estates Act" was passed 
to facilitate the sale of estates heavily charged with in- 
debtedness on the petition of owner or creditor, giving 
the purchaser a simple and indefeasible form of title. 
The properties of many old Irish families were sacrificed 
under the Act, and purchased by business men, for the 
most part Irish men, as an investment, who for the first 
time dealt with the tenants upon principles of rigid con- 
tract. " Although not blind to the hardships which often 
attend this greater strictness," wrote Mr. Sullivan, " I 
consider the new system has introduced few more val- 
uable reforms than this, which enforces method, punc- 
tuality, and precision in the half-yearly settlements 
between landlord and tenant in Ireland." 8 

In 1870 an Act was passed giving tenants, in case of 
capricious eviction, compensation for the disturbance, 
and on leaving their holdings voluntarily or upon notice 

1 A. M. Sullivan: " New Ireland," ch. xiii. 2 Id., ch. xii. 


from the landlord, compensation for improvements. By 
the so-called " Bright clauses " the creation of a peasant 
proprietary was encouraged by the loan of the Board of 
Works of two thirds of the purchase money. For the 
next five or six years the price of cattle was high, and 
the competition for farms so great that rents rose enor- 
mously, but were paid generally without complaint. In 
1877 a series of bad seasons began, culminating with 
a partial famine in 1879. The farmers were impover- 
ished by forced sales upon a falling market, and in the 
autumn the Land League was formed by Michael Davitt. 
The Land Act had given the tenants compensation on 
eviction, but what they wanted was " fixity of tenure " at 
a " fair rent." The Land Act provided for " the con- 
version of occupiers into owners by the slow process of 
individual agreement " with the landlord, but the occu- 
piers wanted to become owners at once. The League 
then proposed the compulsory sale to the tenants of any 
estate upon the tender of a sum equal to twenty years' 
purchase of its " Poor Law " valuation, and meantime 
urged every member to take no farm from which a ten- 
ant had been evicted, to offer to pay a "fair rent" only, 
equal to the " Poor Law " valuation, and if that was 
refused, to pay no rent at all. The " valuation " referred 
to was begun in 1858 by Mr. Richard Griffith, as a 
basis for the assessment of local rates. It varied greatly 
in different parts of the country, and was considered at 
the time to be, except in Ulster, twenty-five per cent, be- 
low a fair letting value. 

In 1881 the " Bessborough " Commission reported to 
Parliament these important conclusions : " The farmer 
bargains with his landlord, under sentence of losing his 
living if the bargain goes off. . . . We grant that it would 


be inexpedient to interfere with freedom of contract be- 
tween landlord and tenant, if freedom of contract really- 
existed, but freedom of contract, in the case of the majority 
of Irish tenants, large or small, does not really exist. 1 
. . . The farmer should no longer be liable to the dis- 
placement of his interest in his holding, either directly 
by ejectment, or indirectly by the raising of his rent at 
the discretion of the landlord. The landlord's right to 
eject should, we think, be limited to certain stated cases, 
and some way should be provided for the determination 
of the fair amount of rent to be paid in cases of dispute." 2 
A Land Act was at once passed in accordance with these 
views. "A great and noble measure," said Mr. Sullivan, 
" a charter of freedom for the long-oppressed tenantry of 
Ireland." 3 

The Act created a Board of Land Commissioners with 
power to fix a fair rent in the case of agricultural ten- 
ancies, with certain exceptions, on the application of 
either landlord or tenant, the rent then to remain un- 
changed for a period of fifteen years. So long as the 
tenant paid his rent and observed the covenants of his 
lease he was not to be evicted, and he was allowed to 
sell his tenant right, subject to the option of the landlord 
to buy it at a price to be decided by the commissioners. 
Still larger advances than before were also allowed to 
tenants purchasing their holdings. These provisions in- 
volved, in the words of the " Bessborough " Commission, 
" a certain loss to the landlord, namely, that of his legal 
reversion, considered as a piece of substantial property. 
His greatest loss, however," is "that of sentiment — of the 
sentiment of ownership." 4 This beneficent measure got 

1 Report, p. 21. 2 Id., p. 19. 3 " New Ireland : A Sequel " ch. iv. 
4 Report, p. 20. 


no fair play from the Land League. " Not merely was 
it decried, denounced, and scorned, but its contents or 
provisions were shamefully misrepresented. To say a 
good word for it was rank heresy in the popular ranks. 
To call it a mockery and a fraud was the orthodox pro- 
fession of faith." ] Yet, " as a rule, the reductions given 
under the Act averaged twenty per cent." a 

At Tyrone Mr. Parnell announced the doctrine that 
the landlords were justly entitled only to the "prairie 
value " of the land, its value as it was in an uncultivated 
condition, as the logical deduction from the " Land Act," 
founding himself on a declaration by John Bright that 
"if the land of Ireland were stripped of the improve- 
ments made upon it by the labor of the occupier, the 
face of the country would be as bare and naked as an 
American prairie." 

The smallness of the reductions at first given by the 
Land Commissioners and the frequent appeals made by 
the landlords, grievously disappointed the hopes of the 
farmers. The creation of a new salable interest in the 
" tenant right " was soon found to be a mixed blessing. 
The " tenant right " was at once used as a convenient 
method for raising money, and this money was spent not 
so much in " improvements " as in more expensive living. 
The combination of " free sale " with " fair rent " was 
found to be impracticable. The " land hunger " was given 
freer play than ever before, with the difference that the 
competitive price for a farm was given to the out-going 
tenant instead of to the landlord, and the only persons 
benefited were the tenants in occupation when the Act 
was passed. Enormous prices were often paid for the 

1 A. M. Sullivan: "New Ireland : A Sequel," ch. iii., p. 458. 

2 T. P. O'Connor : " The Parnell Movement," p. 135. 


tenant right. On the property of Captain Hill in Done- 
gal, in 1883, £60 were paid for the tenant right of a farm 
rented for ten shillings a year, 120 times the rent — or, as 
the phrase is, 120 years' purchase of the rent. Out of a 
hundred cases of such sales that have been tabulated, in 
forty-six, over twenty years' purchase was paid ; in thir- 
teen, over thirty years' ; in ten, over forty years' ; and 
in six, over fifty years' purchase was paid. In all cases 
where over twenty-five years' purchase is paid for the 
" tenant right," the practical result is more than to 
double the rent of the new tenant, if the money could 
have been invested at 4 per cent. Sales of tenant right 
were accordingly promptly denounced by the League 
as " land-grabbing." Boycotting and outrages prevailed 
throughout the country, and in October after the passing 
of the Land Act the Land League was suppressed, and 
was at once succeeded by the " Irish National League." 

In 1882, by the " Arrears Act," any tenant whose 
rent did not exceed ^30 a year was allowed to appeal to 
the Land Commissioners for an extension of the time 
within which to pay the arrears, and in hard cases the 
landlord was compelled to wipe out the arrears upon 
payment of one year's rent by the tenant and of another 
by the government. 

Since 1881 the prices of agricultural produce have 
fallen continuously, with the exception of a sudden but 
short-lived rise in cattle in 1883, in consequence of the 
increasing severity of American competition. The Land 
Commissioners gave larger and larger reductions in the 
rent as time went by, but failed to satisfy the farmers. 
"There was an average fall of 22.3 per cent, in the 
prices of the nine chief articles of produce in 1885, com- 
pared with the prices of the same articles in the six 


years ending 1878, while the judicial rents fixed up to 
August, 1885, are only 19.4 percent, lower than the old 
rents." 1 Leaseholders who were not entitled to go into 
the land courts, and farmers whose rents were fixed in 
the early days of the Act, when prices were high, were 
bitterly discontented when they noticed the reductions 
awarded to their luckier neighbors. By the end of 
August, 1886, 176,800 "fair rents " had been fixed by 
the Land Commissioners, but by that time there was 
open rebellion against the rents fixed prior to 1885. In 
October of 1886 the " Plan of Campaign," so called, was 
formulated by Mr. Dillon at Woodford, on the property 
of Lord Clanricarde. The " plan " itself was widely cir- 
culated in the form of a broadside, and was briefly 
described in United Ireland for October 23d as follows : 
" The tenantry on any one estate were advised to assemble 
under the presidency either of the priest or any intelli- 
gent and sturdy member of their body, in order to con- 
sult, and, after consulting, decide by resolution on the 
amount of abatement they would demand. Every one 
present was to pledge himself to abide by the decision of 
the majority, to hold no communication with the land- 
lord or any of his agents, except in presence of the 
body of the tenantry, and to accept no settlement for 
himself which was not given to every tenant on the 
estate. Should the agent decline the abated rent offered, 
it was to be deposited with a managing committee, to be 
placed by them with a secretary, trustee, or trustees. 
This money was then called the Estate Fund, and was 
' absolutely at the disposal of the managing committee 
for the purpose of the fight.' The employment of the 

fierce Mahony, M. P., and John J. Clancy, M. P.: "The 
Land Crisis," London, 1886. 


fund was to depend on the course the landlord would 
pursue, but it was recommended that it should in general 
be devoted to the support of the tenants who were dis- 
possessed either by sale or ejectment. Dependence was 
placed on the National League to take care, in the event 
of loss of any deposited money through individual dis- 
honesty, or in the event of the demands upon it out- 
running the fund, the grants would be continued to 
struggling tenants from funds otherwise obtained. There 
were other details as to procedure in case of ejectment, 
sale, distress, or bankruptcy proceedings of less interest, 
and one paragraph stated 'that no landlord should get 
one penny rent anywhere on any part of his estate, 
wherever situated, so long as he has one tenant unjustly 

Nor was a " Purchase Act," generally known as Lord 
Ashbourne's Act, given a fair trial, though it provided 
for the advance of purchase money to tenants on easier 
terms than ever before. The " Plan of Campaign " was 
conducted by Mr. Dillon and Mr. O'Brien, M. P., on 
their personal responsibility, but the opposition to " pur- 
chase " was warmly instigated by the National League. 
"The National League," said Mr. Dillon to the Bally- 
haunis tenantry, " intended to lay down a law, wherever 
it had power, that no estate shall be bought on which ten- 
ants have been evicted, until every tenant evicted since 
1879 had been put back again in his holding. . . . On 
estates where the rents were rack-rents, they should allow 
no man to sell his interest ; for the man who sold his in- 
terest on a rack-rented estate, and allowed a man of 
means, a man of trade, to come in, was one of the tenants' 
greatest enemies. The man of means would be the first 
to go in by the back door and betray his fellow-ten- 


ants whenever they stood out for a reduction in their 
rents." ' 

The " Plan of Campaign " was at once adopted on the 
properties of Lord Clanricarde in County Galway, of the 
Marquis of Lansdowne at Luggacurran, in County Meath ; 
of Mr. Brooke at Coolgreany, in County Wexford ; of 
Colonel O'Callaghan at Bodyke, in County Clare ; of 
Mr. Ponsonby at Youghal, and Lady Kingston at Mit- 
chelstown, in County Cork ; and of the O'Grady at Her- 
bartstown in County Limerick. The landlords generally 
felt themselves aggrieved by the compulsory reductions 
of their rent, and held the more firmly by the rights they 
thought still left to them. An all-round reduction, even 
in the case of non-judicial rents — rents not fixed by the 
courts, — seemed to them unjust, and often ruinous. The 
result of the " Plan " was a series of attempts at eviction, 
more or less successful, by the landlords, and a cessation 
of all payment of rent by the tenants on the estates 

The " National League " itself disclaimed any respon- 
sibility for the " Plan," but adopted practically the agra- 
rian theories of the " Land League." The Land Law 
Reform it proposed was thus stated in its Constitution : 

" The creation of an occupying ownership or Peasant 
Proprietary by an amendment of the Purchase Clauses 
of the Land Act of 1881, so as to secure the advance by 
the State of the whole of the purchase money, and the 
extension of the period of repayment over sixty-three 

" The transfer, by compulsory purchase, to county 
boards, of the land not cultivated by the owners, and not 
in the occupation of tenants, for re-sale or re-letting to 
1 Freeman's Journal, Nov 15, 1886. 


laborers and small farmers in plots of grazing common- 

"The protection from the imposition of rent on im- 
provements made by the tenant or his predecessors in 
title, to be effected by an amendment of the Healy clause 
of the Land Act of 1881. 

u The admission of leaseholders and other excluded 
classes to all the benefits of the Land Act. . . . 

" The levying of taxes (now raised off all farming 
lands) upon grass lands, and the graduation of such 
taxes, so as to place the greater part of the burden on 
large farms. 

" The breaking of all covenants compelling tenants not 
to till their holdings." 

In the meantime fresh interest was added to the dis- 
cussion of the " Land Question " by a letter by Sir James 
Caird to the Times? "The land in Ireland," he said, 
" is held by two distinct classes of tenants : the small 
farmers who pay rent from ^1 to ^20, and the compar- 
atively large farmers who pay rent from ^20 upwards. 
Of the first class there are 538,000 holdings, averaging 
£6 each ; of the second class, 121,000 holdings, aver- 
aging ^56 each. ... If the present price of agricul- 
tural produce continue, I should fear that from the land 
held by the large body of poor farmers in Ireland any 
economical rent has for the present disappeared." In 
the autumn Sir James Caird was appointed a member of 
the " Cowper " Commission, to inquire into the reason 
for the failure of the Land Acts, and its report the fol- 
lowing year was immediately followed by a new Act, 
under which, throughout Ireland, the "judicial rents" 
that were to remain untouched for fifteen years have been 
1 March, 1886. 


reduced, on an average, fifteen per cent., and which ad- 
mitted leaseholders to have their leases broken and their 
rents re-settled. 

At the present time in Ireland the only tenants still 
bound by their contracts with their landlords are tenants 
of holdings not agricultural nor pastoral in character ; 
tenants of demesne land, that is, land held by the owner 
in connection with the mansion house or home farm and 
let temporarily ; tenants of " town parks," that is, land 
used in part for the accommodation of a town ; tenants 
of land let mainly for pasture, of a valuation of ^50 or 
over ; tenants who hold their land as laborers or servants ; 
or who hold their land in conacre? or for temporary graz- 
ing, or for a particular temporary purpose ; tenants of 
cottage allotments, of not over half an acre ; and " ecclesi- 
astical persons " occupying glebe lands. Every one else 
may serve a notice on his landlord to have a fair rent 
fixed by the Land Court, and in fixing the rent no rent 
is charged on improvements, by him or his predecessors. 
" Improvements " is taken to include tillage, manure, 
etc., the benefit of which is unexhausted, and any work 
which is suitable to the holding, and which adds to its 
letting value. The presumption is taken to be that the 
improvements were made by the tenants if made since 
1870, or within twenty years before. Finally, in making 
reductions, reference is to be had to the fall in prices 
since the lease was made or the rent fixed. 2 

The tenant may have paid nothing to anybody on 
coming into possession of his farm, but he has now, so 
long as he pays rent, an interest almost amounting to a 

1 " A letting in conacre is merely the sale of a crop, with a license 
to enter on the land for the purpose of planting, tilling, and taking it 
away." 2 Healy : " The Land Act of 1887." 


joint-tenancy with the landlord, in perpetuity, which he 
can sell for all it will fetch in open market. 

It is, moreover, to be remembered that the rents usual 
in Ireland, even before the Land Acts, were not, as a 
rule, the full commercial rents, as were the rents demanded 
for similar land in England and Scotland. Such is ex- 
pressly stated in the Report of the " Bessborough Com- 
mission." It is also to be remembered that the prices of 
agricultural produce, though falling steadily, are still 
higher than they were on the average in 1858. 

If, then, after having his rent reduced a tenant wishes 
to buy his farm, and can agree with his landlord as to the 
price, the government will advance him the whole of the 
purchase money, which he can repay with interest at 3^ 
per cent., by annual instalments of 4 per cent, a year, be- 
coming the owner of the farm at the end of forty-nine 
years. These yearly payments will seldom amount to 
more than three quarters of the rent he would otherwise 
pay. The average price paid in such cases has been a 
little over eighteen years' purchase of the rent, that is, if 
the rent is ^"ioo a year, the price agreed on would be 
^£1,800, 4 per cent, on which with interest would be ^74. 
The government, then, pays the landlord ^1,800 and 
charges the tenant ^"74 a year for forty-nine years ; at 
the end of that time the tenant owns the farm. 

In addition to these special benefits, the condition of 
the tenant has been considerably improved in other re- 
spects during the present century. Since 1838, the 
tithes, and later the rent charges which took their place, 
have been assessed directly on the landlord instead of on 
the tenant; since 1870, half the county cess, the chief 
tax in the country, has been paid by the landlord, who 
also has to pay in respect of holdings of over £4 valua- 


tion half the poor rates, the only remaining general tax, 
and in respect of all other holdings, the whole of the poor 

The Irish farmer, it was hoped by the landlords, would 
be now contented. The " three F's," the nickname ap- 
plied to the " Free Sale, Fair Rents, and Fixity of Ten- 
ure," that had been the limit of the demands of the 
Tenant Right League, had now been granted, the judicial 
rents had been reduced, and the holders of leases expir- 
ing within ninety-nine years from 1881, had been given 
the privileges allowed tenants from year to year, and they 
had been the chief supporters of the " Plan of Campaign." 
Four hundred tenants on the " Kingston estate," and 
five hundred on the " Ponsonby estate," went into the 
court, and the latter received the other day 22 per cent, 
reduction, instead of the 25 per cent, they demanded, and 
their demands were finally granted in full by the landlord. 

As early as October last the opinion of the popular 
leaders was expressed by Mr. O'Brien at Mallow, 1 that 
the " Plan " had been a success, and had been justified. 
"Only 140 men were evicted out of the 30,000 tenants," 
he declared, " who, to my own knowledge, lodged their 
money under the Plan of Campaign in Ireland. . . . But 
that is not all, because I can state to you from facts with- 
in my own knowledge that, within the last ten days, we 
have received offers upon three or four of the great es- 
tates, offers to reinstate one hundred and fifteen of the 
one hundred and forty tenants, to reinstate every one of 
them upon terms that the tenants would have jumped at 
twelve months ago, but they are in no hurry to jump at 
them now. ... I find the universal feeling prevail- 
ing through the country that fifty per cent, of the rents is 
1 Freeman 's Journal, October 31, 1887. 


the very utmost that can be wrung this winter out of the 
unfortunate tenants by swords — or by bayonets, for that 
matter. . . . We clung to the new Land Act as long as 
there was a shadow of hope of adequate redress for our 
poor people under it. . . . They mauled it and they 
mangled it to please the House of Lords, and now . . . 
they have turned it into a downright curse and a down- 
right mockery by appointing a lot of broken-down rack- 
renters and bumbailiffs to administer it." Nothing, he 
concluded, remained save to continue the " Plan." And 
in respect to the " purchase clauses," the Act is also con- 
demned. " The people," said Mr. Conybeare, 1 M. P., at 
Westport, in County Mayo, September last, " the people 
must not buy the land ; they will get it for nothing from 
an Irish Parliament. The man who told them to give 
the landlord the price of their own improvements was 
their enemy. He was a wolf in sheep's clothing." The 
Nation of August 27th, finally, gives this positive advice 
to the people : " We have no hesitation in declaring 
now that the farmer who pays a rent that his land has 
not realized over and above all the cost of production 
and family maintenance, is a fool, and that whoever 
would assist him to pay it is no friend of Ireland." 

This slight introduction is, perhaps, sufficient to make 
intelligible the following conversations, which do not 
represent, it is true, the relative number of the different 
opinions I heard, but which do express with considerable 
accuracy the various arguments and illustrations. 
1 " The Western People." Ballina, October i, 1887. 



The club was invited to meet one of the most dis- 
tinguished of Irish patriots. Besides the guest of the 
evening there were present a distinguished professor of 
Trinity College, a well-known political economist, an 
Irish representative of a large English woollen firm, an 
Englishman intimate with the leaders of the Unionist 
party in Parliament, several young members of the Prot- 
estant Home Rule Association, some American visitors, 
and twenty or thirty others. The subjects of discussion 
were Gladstone's Home Rule Bill, and the settlement of 
the Land Question. The guest of the evening, with his 
bright eyes twinkling under a finely wrinkled brow, was 
speaking slowly in a strained voice as I entered. The 
Irish Parliament should, so soon as it was established, 
buy out the landlords by an annuity of three per cent, on 
a sum equal to twenty-one years' purchase of their 
rentals. " This," said he, " would be only fair, and it 
would keep with us a body of men, an educated class, 
that the nation cannot afford to be without." " That 
would be well enough," cried some one, "if we could 
force the landlords to live here." Another objected 
that, in competition with America, the country could not 
afford the extra tax. 

" American competition is exaggerated," suggested the 
commercial traveller. " The American soil is decreasing 



yearly in fertility, while the Irish land is perennially fer- 
tile. The substitution of a small charge for the present 
rents would be an immediate boon to the farmer. With 
the sense of security thrift would increase. Ireland is 
now but half cultivated, and the present produce of al- 
most every farmer might be easily doubled. The burden 
will be lighter every year, and in a generation it will 
cease for ever." 

An American observed that it was true the fertility of 
the Western prairies was soon exhausted. The farmer 
there usually purchased with borrowed money or on 
mortgage, and so had often heavy annual charges. The 
cost of transportation had reached its lowest point. 
Prices had fallen as low as they ever would. 

" Do you call that just," cried out a sharp-voiced pro- 
fessor, " when prices are temporarily low to deprive the 
landlords of their estates at the depressed value ? I call 
that robbery. How can you expect to raise a great 
nation on a foundation of robbery and petty fraud?" 
The remonstrance was received with a smile. 

The farmers, it was admitted, would for some years 
have to struggle with low prices ; but our guest suggest- 
ed that such a great revolution as was proposed could 
not be accomplished without sacrifice and privation, and 
that by the method he proposed the privation would be 
only temporary. 

Some one argued that the new tenant proprietors would 
become landlords in their turn, and would let at extor- 
tionate rents. " There is a great difference," was the 
reply, "between landlords and landlordism. The evils 
of landlordism consist in the existence of an alien and 
absentee class who take the whole, or as nearly as pos- 
sible the whole, of the produce of the soil from the farm- 


er, and whenever the harvest is below the average, turn 
him out to starve. These evils are due chiefly to the 
accumulation of property in the hands of a few through 
primogeniture ; to the unjust laws that let the tenant be 
deprived of the value of his improvements ; and to the 
difficulty of getting new holdings through the expensive- 
ness of conveyancing. Under the new system we should 
have native landlords in sympathy with their tenants ; 
primogeniture should be abolished by one of the first acts 
of the new Parliament, which should also enforce fixity 
of tenure at a fair rental." 

"If you allowed 'free sale,'" exclaimed another, "you 
would certainly bring back landlordism." 

" Why so ? " asked a professor ; " in France land is 
bought and sold as freely as any other commodity, and 
yet, though there are landlords in France, there is no 
landlordism. Abolished by the French Revolution, the 
popular sentiment and the testamentary laws have pre- 
vented its revival. May not such a great social revolu- 
tion as ours have the same result ? " 

Our guest summed up the matter with a judicial air : 
" So long as human nature remains the same there un- 
questionably will be landlords, and in spite of any laws 
that may be devised, it will be possible for excessive rent 
to be exacted from improvident or unwise tenants that 
will reduce them to starvation. But with the extension 
of education and the gradual rising of the standard of 
living, there will be naturally developed intelligent habits 
of self-protection that will prevent tenants generally 
from making bargains absurdly opposed to their own 

A member asked what was thought of the exclusion 
of the Irish members from Westminster. " It is said," 


was the answer, " that Ireland will lose her voice in the 
government of the colonies ; but that is of no conse- 
quence, for Parliament does not now govern the colonies. 
It is said that Ireland will be deprived of all power in 
determining the imperial policy for war or peace, but no 
great question of foreign policy has yet been determined 
by the votes of the Irish members. We are losing 
nothing of value. On the contrary, we shall need all our 
best talent for the next few years in our Irish Parliament, 
and cannot spare a hundred able and experienced 
Irishmen for Westminster." 

Some one suggested that the retention of the Irish 
members was prompted by a latent wish to keep Ireland 
within the taxable area of the empire. " If we are rep- 
resented there, they will tax us ; if we are not, they will 
not dare to." 

" Lord Salisbury and Lord Harrington," said the 
Englishman, in answer to a question, " are as sincerely 
anxious as Gladstone to provide a measure conciliatory 
to Ireland." " The difference between them, " exclaimed 
an Irishman, " is that Gladstone wants a Home-Rule 
bill that will satisfy the Irish members, and his opponents 
want a bill that will not satisfy them." " Chamberlain," 
said a professor, " has had to surrender his local-board 
scheme for that very reason. I was at that great repre- 
sentative meeting in the Rotunda in 1879, that asked for 
a Parliament for local affairs substantially similar to 
Gladstone's Parliament. The only evidence we have is 
that that is what the Irish people want, and that has been 
accepted by the whole Parnellite party." 

Criticism was made of the anomaly proposed by Glad- 
stone of a house with two orders instead of two houses. 
" Instead of a system that has been tried with fair sue- 


cess throughout the world," said our guest, " Gladstone 
has substituted one that no one has ever tried anywhere." 
" It existed in Scotland," said the professor. " The 
most corrupt Parliament that ever was," was the retort. 
" Also in the Irish Disestablished Church," he continued. 
" That is not much in its favor." 

The chairman suggested that the most important ques- 
tion was as to the powers of the Parliament, though that 
might seem a matter of detail. 

" No sooner shall we have a Parliament on College 
Green," said a professor, "than there will arise more and 
more serious questions between the two countries than 
ever before. The Irish Parliament will insist on exceed- 
ing its powers, by laws protecting trade and Romanizing 
education, that will be vetoed by England. That will in- 
crease national hatred. As for the home measures, they 
will be absurd. For my part, let an Irish Parliament 
rule India, and discuss the defences of Afghanistan, but 
let them keep their hands off my and my friends' busi- 
ness at home. Any thing but that." Everybody smiled 
as the professor sat down and another professor rose. 
"You must remember," said he, "that sovereignty is 
single and absolute : you cannot give it and retain it ; 
you cannot retain it and give it. If Mr. Gladstone's bill 
amounts to any thing, it means that as to Irish affairs 
the Irish Parliament is to have the sovereign power, and 
no other body. Otherwise the bill gives merely a nomi- 
nal sovereignty and will satisfy nobody." "Why do you 
wish for a change of government ? " retorted his un- 
abashed opponent. " A hundred years ago unjust and 
barbarous laws were common everywhere, and Ireland 
has been no worse off than any other country. England 
has governed Ireland as well as she has governed her- 


self." " Your argument," was the answer, " seems to be 
that since England has been unable to govern herself 
well, she should continue to govern Ireland. The trouble 
lies in this, that one country can never govern another 
well." The hour was getting late, and the discussion 
became informal and general when I departed, marvelling 
at the extraordinary amiability with which these old 
friends debated so frankly and clearly questions of such 
exceeding importance. 


" A good and useful land bill," said the Lord Mayor 
of Dublin " would not be opposed by the Nationalists 
simply from the idea that it would injure the cause of 
Home Rule, though we would not postpone Home Rule 
for any thing. The land question is difficult and dan- 
gerous and many say it would be unfair to establish an 
Irish Parliament until it is settled. It is very fortunate, 
for instance, that the question of disestablishment has 
been disposed of. But that is not my feeling. We 
would face the question manfully and, I believe, wisely ; 
and I would not postpone Home Rule for any thing. 

" What guaranties could be given for the payment of 
purchase money ? A great cry was raised against the 
imperial guaranty proposed by Gladstone, and it is 
hard to see how the Conservatives can take it up again. 
As to local guaranties, neither the grand juries nor the 
unions could be made guaranteeing bodies. The grand 
juries are a doomed institution and, instead of having 
their powers enlarged, should be deprived of those they 
have. The unions are absolutely unsuited for such a 
purpose. If the landlords, the ex-officio guardians, vote 
on the question, it will be considered unfair ; and if the 


elected guardians alone vote, no guaranty will ever be 
given. There is no institution in the country capable 
of guaranteeing the purchase money. A special body 
might be constituted by the government, but there would 
be great difficulties in so doing. No Castle board could 
give a guaranty worth any thing ; and any board capa- 
ble of guaranteeing would have to have legislative 
power, and power to impose and collect taxes and to 
issue debentures. However, one thing is certain, no 
matter what boards are chosen or constituted, only the 
land actually put into the court can or ought to be 
available as a guaranty for the payment of the money 
for the landlord's interest in that particular property. A 
native Parliament ought to be able to do something more 
than that, and it alone could give a real guaranty. 

" With regard to the suggestion that demesne lands be 
sold : we are fighting for a principle and can yield in 
all such non-essentials. That is a theory, and may be 
modified. The theory, moreover, would mean no inva- 
sion of private rights. The clause in the National pro- 
gramme is not to be construed literally. There will be 
landlords here to the end of time. The old landlord 
class was, however, a hostile class. The landlords were 
not only spendthrifts, but were, till lately, debauchees. 
They speak now against lawlessness, but it was they who 
used to make the sheriffs swallow their latitats. Nature 
herself now seems to have come to our relief, and put an 
end to landlordism ; for the time has come when the 
land will no longer support two classes of people. 

" An Irish Parliament would give substantial justice 
to all parties, for it would want peace, and it would be 
the public interest that all classes should be represented 
and reconciled. An extreme party could not carry 


through any wild project, for there would have to be 
there representatives of the gentry and the merchants 
It is often supposed that an Irish Parliament would con- 
sist of the present Parnellite M. P.'s, and men of no 
property. The Parnellite members are sent, however, to 
Westminster not to legislate but to fight. In our Parlia- 
ment the men who fought and won the battle will be 
present, but the other classes will be there too. We are 
a combative party in the Imperial Parliament, but in our 
own we would want representative men of a different 
type, men with practical experience of trade and com- 
merce. We should have to get the element of stability 
there ; and the first thing Parnell would do, if he had 
the choosing of the members, would be to pick out and 
put in just such men. 

" Do you remember how the legislature was constituted 
in Gladstone's bill ? In one house there were to be 
twenty-eight Irish peers, and seventy-five members hav- 
ing each a personal qualification of ^"200 per annum, 
elected for a period of ten years, and by electors rated at 
^25 per annum. This would be a very conservative 
house. Then in the other house, the present sixteen 
Unionists from the north of Ireland would be doubled ; 
and these, with the Upper House, would make, in joint 
debate, nearly one half of the whole Irish Parliament. 
How is it possible that injustice should be committed by 
such a body ? 

" Now, although this particular bill has fallen through, 
any scheme that will be entertained will and must pro- 
vide for the inclusion in the Irish Parliament of a class 
of people who are not now active in the National move- 
ment, even were the scheme devised by the present Irish 
members themselves. 


" Would a constitution like that of an American State 
be accepted, with its bill of rights and conservative 
limitations ? Certainly. We should be fools not to ac- 
cept such a constitution. Give us the engine and you 
may put on what brakes you like. The Irish people 
would not accept a purely administrative body, but 
would accept any fair measure of Home Rule." 


A gentleman who has filled many important public 
positions, who is untiring in his efforts to promote every 
plan for the improvement of education or the develop- 
ment of Irish industries, is a strong Unionist. Yet a 
leading Catholic Nationalist described him to me as 
being, though a Protestant, " one of our most useful 
citizens." The opinions of such a man deserve atten- 

" The poverty of the Irish farmer," he said, " is largely 
due to himself ; he sleeps all the winter, without doing a 
stroke of work. He and his family do not knit socks, 
make flannel cloth, or weave flax as they used to ; he 
does n't drain the fields or improve the roads. A Swiss 
farmer in his place would grow and work osiers, make 
straw hats, or do wood-carving. Suppose a man with 
five or six acres gets ^"50 worth of produce. He sows 
worthless seed, for the people eat the good potatoes and 
sow the bad, instead of sowing the best. His method of 
farming is so wasteful and negligent that his farm pro- 
duces only half what it might. Remove the rent alto- 
gether, in a family of five or six that would only save a 
pound apiece. That would not help matters. It is far 
more a question of diligence and restraint. 

" They neglect the means of money-making at their 


hand. Irish butter, for instance, might always command 
wholesale a price of a shilling a pound, instead of six- 
pence, the usual price. The Irish farmer with few cows 
churns twice a week ; with many cows, every day. The 
churn is very small. The churnings make successive 
layers in the firkin ; this is over-salted from ignorance of 
the market, water is added to make weight, and the 
churns are seldom clean. The result is that the butter, 
when it comes to market, is half rancid and is classed as 
third-rate. The National Board of Education and the 
papers are always urging the farmers to change their 
methods. They might have cooperative butter factories 
as in Belgium and Holland. Some have been started 
and are successful ; but usually the farmers are too 
suspicious of one another to work together. Or the land- 
lord might start a factory, buying the cream from the 
farmers and selling the butter. But many such factories 
have been boycotted by the League, and the landlords 
won't risk the necessary capital. With a better system, 
the farmers of Ireland could make several million pounds 
a year extra out of butter. 

" The case is the same with other industries. The 
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ross said, in a recent 
circular : ' Apart from the training necessary to handle a 
boat, there remains the utter want of knowledge and 
manufacture of the necessary appliances. Take nets as 
an example. . . . There is not at present one machine 
for making nets in the whole of Ireland, while in the 
small town of Peel, in the Isle of Man, there are three 
large net factories, worked by machinery, affording em- 
ployment for hundreds of men, women, and children. 
There is scarcely one, in over a hundred miles of the 
adjacent coast, competent to make a sail or rope for one 


of their fishing boats. As for fish-curing, one instance 
will suffice. There is but one pilchard curing establish- 
ment in Ireland, and that is situated at Baltimore.' Some 
good will be done by the new Piscatorial School at Bal- 

" The Nationalists always endeaver to conceal the fact 
that the motive of religion is at the bottom of the Home- 
Rule agitation. The enmity to the Queen is largely due 
to the fact that she is a Protestant. The landlords are 
Protestants, Saxons, and Conservatives, while the tenants 
are Catholics, Celts, and Nationalists, so that party, race, 
and creed all combine to set class against class. In the 
schools the patrons are either Protestant or Catholic, 
and as a rule the teachers and pupils are either all Prot- 
estant or all Catholic. 

" However, the power of the ecclesiastics will continue 
only so long as they advance with the political sentiments 
of the people. When Home Rule is granted, the priests 
will all side with the Conservative faction of which Par- 
nell will be the head. The party of disorder will work 
heaven and earth to get the priests on their side, but will 
fail, for a priest can go only a certain length. The 
priests will not be able to save the country, for they have 
lost enormously with the people since they have shown 
that their morality has become the morality of a politi- 
cian and not that of a man of God. 

"We should have nothing to fear from a Grattan's 
Parliament, but every thing to fear from a Parliament of 
men chosen from the riff-raff of the people for the sole 
purpose of annoying England in every way in their 
power. The M. P.'s are clever, but so is every Irishman ; 
and the best of them are such men as Tim Healey, who 
is animated by a perfectly sincere hatred of the Saxon. 


" What Ireland needs more than any thing else is 
more general, thorough, and technical education. Half 
the misery of the people comes from ignorance. At the 
present time ^800,000 is paid by the Imperial govern- 
ment for education in Ireland. Proper scientific and 
artistic instruction would require ^200,000 more for, 
elementary education alone. The revenues of Ireland 
were estimated by Gladstone at four millions a year. 
Could a Home-Rule government afford to pay a million 
for education ? 

" The financial question is worth considering. The 
police cost a million pounds. People say most of that 
would be saved, as we shall not need so many police. 
If, however, we abolish the Irish Constabulary, we shall 
have to pay more for others to perform the many and 
various duties, besides the police duties, of the Constabu- 
lary. They are, for instance, revenue officers, prevent- 
ing fraudulent distillation, etc. They are officers of the 
Registrar General, collecting the statistics of the country. 
They put in operation the regulations under the Con- 
tagious Diseases Act. Under fifty or more other Acts 
of Parliament they are the acting agents. When, for in- 
stance, the question of compulsory education was dis- 
cussed, it was decided that such a measure would have 
to be carried out by the Constabulary. 

" The whole of the civil-service charges of the country 
would probably come to at least another million. There 
are some four thousand officials in Dublin. Many new 
departments would be necessary to take over business 
now transacted in London, such as, a Treasury and an 
Audit Department, a Home Office, a Board of Trade, 
and, pretty certainly, a Portfolio of Agriculture and 
Commerce. Besides all these there would be the sala- 


ries of the Judiciary, and of J. P.'s, and other magistrates 
who now act gratuitously. 

" What would be cut down and saved in one way would 
be more than counterbalanced by additional expenses. 

" Home Rule, besides being dangerous, would be ex- 

" But as much local government as is possessed by 
Scotland would be beneficial to Ireland. Irish industries 
and trade should also be especially encouraged by the 
government. The absence of wood is a great injury to 
the country. There might then be a moderate bounty 
paid for every acre planted with certain timber on certain 
specified conditions ; for in planting timber one can get 
no profit for the first thirty years, though afterwards it 
is one of the most profitable crops. 

" I believe in protection for a limited time. 

" The official liquidator in the Court of Bankruptcy 
says that almost universally Irish tradesmen and shop- 
keepers are so indebted to English manufacturers that 
they dare not give orders to rising Irish firms. The 
account is always carried forward, ^80 or ^100, from 
year to year at about the same amount, showing that the 
English manufacturers are interested in keeping Irish 
firms in debt. The Irish manufacturers might assume 
the debts, but that would require a large capital and a 
spirit of enterprise not often seen in Ireland. 

" The power to levy duties was omitted in Gladstone's 
bill, in order to secure the votes of the Lancashire towns, 
Manchester and Birmingham, — but Gladstone's bill is 

" Any country that has not got superior facilities for 
producing a sufficient number of articles cheaper than 
any other country, will cease to exist under free trade 


as a commercial community, because it can produce 
nothing to exchange. Ireland is in that position, or 
nearly so ; it has no external facilities, it is badly off 
for minerals, and even as a grazing or agricultural 
country it is undersold by America. There is only a 
limited amount of finishing grazing land in Ireland, 
chiefly in Meath and Dublin ; most of the grass land 
would produce only inferior cattle. The cultivation of 
grain for export has almost ceased. Nothing but pro- 
tection can save us from American grain. 

" Manufactures require coal and iron, and having to 
import them raises the cost of production here. Coal is 
perhaps as cheap here as it is in Kent, but then Kent is 
not a manufacturing county. 

" Finally, Irish labor is not -cheap labor, because the 
people drink and are lazy. 

" The one thing that might make up for these disad- 
vantages would be a superior technical education, as in 
parts of Switzerland, Germany, and France. 

" Five times more carriage-makers, twenty times more 
cabinet-makers than now were employed here fifty years 
ago. The tanning trade was once enormous, it is now 
dying out. Has Ireland derived any corresponding ben- 
efit from getting cheaper furniture and cheaper carriages ? " 

" If you had had protection, would you not have had 
a more serious famine here in 1879 ? " * suggested. 

" We can form a fair idea in October," he answered, " of 
the corn grown that year, and there is always in the coun- 
try a supply of corn for a year ahead. We should have six 
months then to prepare for a famine, and that would be 
time enough. Then, too, the only parts of the country 
where famine threatened in 1879 were where there was 
no corn and the people lived on potatoes. As our indus- 


tries increase and the standard of living rises, the danger 
of famine will decrease." 


If great business ability and unusual shrewdness in 
judging human nature give value to the opinions of a 
private citizen on public matters, these opinions should 
be specially valuable. 

" The whole question is one of £. s. d., of the almighty 
dollar, and to call it a question of politics or of political 
economy is all nonsense. 

" I remember when a shilling, thirteen pence, and even 
fourteen pence was paid for a quartern loaf in the days 
before the corn laws. Then when the duty on corn was 
taken off, the landlord class expected to be ruined. 
There was less to be divided among the different sharers 
in the produce, so the landlords lost part of their 

" The farmers afterwards took up cattle, and for a 
time ' growing meat ' seemed to be an industry eternally 
profitable. But the introduction of the refrigerating 
process in transportation has completely revolutionized 
this business. Prices may be expected to fall still lower 
in the future, for until now, in cattle at least, home stock 
has been superior in quality to the imported ; but of late 
years the high-cost home breeds have been exported and 
domesticated in America and New Zealand, and cattle 
are now being imported identical with the best domestic 
cattle. Under free trade there has been gradually 
brought about an equalization in prices throughout the 
world for articles of the same quality, now there is com- 
ing about an equalization in their quality. The profit 
has gone from the produce of the land and therefore 


from the land itself, and the question now is between 
the landlords and the farmers as to who shall be the 

" These two classes, the landlords and the farmers, are 
fighting for the control of the government. In the past 
the grand jury may be said to have been the government 
of the country. The grand jury is something of the nature 
of a shire parliament — the equivalent, in some ways, of 
the town meeting. It represents the landlord class, passes 
all rates, and has the powers generally which in England 
are divided among the grand Jury, the vestry, and 
various other local boards. 

" Ireland and England were once in much the same 
condition. England has fought her way out of this 
oligarchical system, but Ireland remains unchanged. 
Why ? On account of her religion. 

" While the governing classes of England were gradu- 
ally persuaded to yield more power to the people, be- 
cause they were of the same religion and could have 
confidence in them, it was not so here. Here there 
existed an hereditary warfare between the classes, on 
account largely of their being of different religions ; one 
or other it was felt must be uppermost, and the one which 
got on top wished to keep there. The bulk of the land- 
lords were Protestants, and always took on themselves 
the office of holding the country for the British crown. 
It is the interest of the landlords to make themselves the 
medium for advising the government in Irish questions, 
and they have done so with a view to their own profit. 
It is the interest of the priests that their people should 
share in the government and should have sufficient 
worldly wealth. There has been a regular fight between 
the priests and the landlords. 


" The election for Parliament was, till within two 
years, so arranged as to give the Protestant interests pre- 
dominance. Only for a short interval in O'Connell's 
time was there an Irish party of any importance in Par- 
liament, and they gained Catholic emancipation. 

" Under the last Reform Bill eighty-nine Nationalist 
M. P.'s were returned, and it is hard to see how any com- 
promise can be effected with them short of Home Rule. 
Gladstone has formulated a possible bill which, in case 
of^ his death, will be a rallying point. 

" The great difficulty consists in an unascertainable 
factor, the control the Catholic clergy can exercise over 
a Home-Rule Parliament. If they exert much influence, 
the result will be bad, because clerical domination is 
always bad for a country, and Catholic clerical domination 
worst of all. The Protestants have effaced themselves, 
and made of their clergy simply paid professional 
teachers, but this is not yet true of the Catholics. 

" The Catholic priests have followed the popular move- 
ment, but in order to get control of it, though some are 
still rather conservative. All Archbishop Walsh's prede- 
cessors were conservative in the sense of being opposed 
to agitation, but the bishops now, like Croke and Duggan, 
have taken the popular side vehemently. 

" I have asked many Protestants whether, if all the 
Irish were Protestants, they would object to Home Rule. 
Most of them would welcome Home Rule in that case. 
The Protestant Irishman does not object to govern him- 
self, but he does object to being swamped by a Catholic 
majority. That is the difficulty in a nutshell. The poor- 
est are uneducated, and the uneducated are Catholics. 
Gladstone tried to secure the country against this dan- 
ger by the provision that one third of the legislature 


could hang up a bill for three years, as the Protestants 
could probably return a minority of one third. 

" It is an Irish trait to try to get a thing no matter who 
suffers. Before the last rising, it was said the Fenians 
had settled by lot among themselves what property each 
should have. There is a feeling abroad now among the 
uneducated classes that a revolution would be the occa- 
sion for a resharing of property. 

" It is easy for Parnell to be in opposition ; but when 
his party comes to govern and keep order, the section that 
looks for spoils by the change will have to be dealt with. 
The American phrase has been adopted here, ' To the vic- 
tors belong the spoils.' There will have to be a readjust- 
ment of social order, and control of the managing priests 
— this will be the first work of the Home-Rule Parliament. 

" The goal the country has set its mind upon is self- 
government and a legislative Parliament. That would 
satisfy them. The educated Catholics all realize that to 
continue part of the British Empire would be more to 
their advantage in a civil sense than to be an indepen- 
dent republic. 

" Those who cry for the green flag and for an Irish 
nation are in the van. But you must have a van to any 
movement, and you must make a bid in advance of what 
you expect to get, in order to get any thing. Men igno- 
rant of politics and the science of government are 
infatuated with the zeal of nationality, and seek the ex- 
hibition of its maximum development. These are the 
tail of the party, that will have to be beaten back when 
civil order comes to be established. 

" As to protection : the question is too broad to dis- 
cuss, but two facts often overlooked need to be remem- 


"With Home Rule and a peasant proprietary for a 
long time there will be no surplus agricultural produce 
to export, because the people will live better and will 
not require to sell so much of their produce to pay rent. 
What is now a surplus they will consume themselves. 
Take the rent roll of the country, the wealth of the 
people will in time be increased by that sum, and they 
will be in a position to be large purchasers. The incre- 
ment of the landlord will become the purchasing power 
of the peasant proprietor. 

" Then too our home industries dep'end very largely 
on imported material. It is not generally known but is 
a fact, that the wool of the Irish sheep is too coarse to 
make any cloth but frieze ; and it is an every-day occur- 
rence for wool to be imported from Australia via London, 
or the Yorkshire district, to mix with Irish wool to make 
fine tweeds. 1 The linen trade, too, could not exist with- 
out free importation of foreign flax/' 


" I am not a Democrat," he began to my surprise, " nor 
a believer in universal suffrage. It has amazed me that 
the English Conservatives should not have fought to the 
end against the last Reform Bill. There was no demand 
for it. Nothing has happened yet, for the newly enfran- 
chised millions have n't learnt their power, but when 
they do learn it, there is no change that they may not make. 

" I can understand the position of the Unionists. 
What I blame the government for is, not for coercing, 

1 "An unmitigated lie," said a farmer when I read him this sen- 
tence : "This thick blue serge I am now wearing was made en- 
tirely from the wool of my own sheep. And Blarney tweeds are the 
finest in the world." 


but for coercing foolishly. They must either concede or 
coerce. The English have not governed Ireland at all 
for the last three or four years. It is the National 
League that has governed Ireland. If England wishes 
to govern Ireland again, it must then first destroy the 
League. The new Coercion Act, like all previous ones, 
is bound to fail. It does n't coerce enough. There can 
be no efficient half-way measure. The only logical thing 
for the Unionists to do, is to govern this country as a 
crown colony and to exclude our men from Parliament. 

" I am not in Sympathy with the agrarian movement. 
The tenants' party is unreasonable and unjust, and the 
landlords are fools. Walsh is a very influential man, 
and might have helped them to checkmate the other 
side, if they had accepted his suggestion for a confer- 
ence. At such a meeting landlords and tenants might 
have got to appreciate each other's position in a way 
impossible by any number of letters. Even if no agree- 
ment were had, the conference would do some good. If 
a spirit of yielding is shown, something is shown that is 
good, and mutual understanding often leads to eventual 

" The land question is inferior to the other, but it may 
save us trouble if it is settled first. The one important 
thing is separation as complete as possible, for perfect 
separation is impossible owing to the numerical superi- 
ority of England and to our geographical situation. No 
one ever thought of fighting England without foreign 
aid. In case, however, of war between England and 
America or Russia, ninety-nine out of a hundred of us 
would be on the side of America or of Russia or of the 
Devil himself if it would only injure or cripple England. 

"Home Rule is what we want. The English know 


nothing about Irish affairs. Even Gladstone does not 
really know any thing about Ireland. John Bright is the 
only English public man who ever did know any thing 
about us, and he has now turned against us. In the 
same way the English can't understand the Americans, 
nor you the English, although you have the same cus- 
toms and speak the same language. The whole trouble 
rises from one country governing another. That is op- 
posed to all justice and to all the teaching of history. 
No country ever governed another well. If Ireland were 
a part of England as Yorkshire is, would the Irish people 
have been allowed to die of starvation during the famine 
by hundreds of thousands ? 

" Our party is now not a transacting party. Parnell is 
the leader of the Irish people. All the various conflict- 
ing parties rely on him. His death would be almost as 
fatal to our cause as the death of Gladstone, for if Par- 
nell died to-morrow the man would lead who is the most 
unfit to do so — Dillon. Dillon is a narrow fanatic and 
could never lead Davitt. In talking with Parnell the 
first thing I noticed was that he was a first-rate listener, 
and the second thing was that every thing he said led to 
action, to something to be done. He has will, a fright- 
ful will. O'Brien's position is Dillon's. They have the 
Plan of Campaign business, and O'Brien's power is very 
great with the people from a sympathetic point of view, 
but if Parnell put down his foot he would yield at once. 
Whether Dillon would I do not know. Davitt's follow- 
ing is very big among the farmers, ten times bigger than 
Dillon's or O'Brien's. He is the only power in Ireland 
independent of Parnell. As for us, we are non-trans- 
acting at present, but complications might arise in which 
we would again be a power. 


" Home Rule is what we want. Even after it is granted, 
hatred of England will not die out at once, but in the 
course of a generation it will cease from want of nourish- 
ment. The Imperial Parliament may give us a Parlia- 
ment in words subject to itself, but if the Home-Rule 
Parliament is a subject Parliament in fact, it will be no 
cure at all for the discontent of Ireland. In the case of 
Home Rule following or coincident with peasant pro- 
prietorship, we shall of course suffer two great losses. 
The landlords would take their money ; they would also 
take themselves, and that would be a very serious loss, 
since they are the only cultivated class. 

" It is said that if we had Home Rule we should per- 
secute the Protestant minority. We would not, and the 
guaranties are : first, that the Protestants are a million 
and a half out of five millions, and they have most of the 
property and the best education ; secondly, that of the 
Catholics many are only nominally Catholics, they were 
born so, but have ceased to feel strong interest in re- 
ligion ; and, thirdly, that there are many Catholics who, 
though sincerely religious, are more or less conservative 
in politics. All these classes would make together about 
two millions and a half, or half the Irish people, who 
would be opposed to any thing like persecution. 

" Education, again, would prevent the Irish from 
blindly following the priest. The average Irishman now 
only listens to the priest on matters about which he 
does n't know or care much. Then, too, the priests have 
taken part in this movement from sympathy with the 
farmer rather than as priests. Ninety-nine out of a hun- 
dred are sons of tenant farmers. Sons of gentlemen, or 
of professional men, become Jesuits but not priests. 

" Emigration would do Ireland no good. Home Rule 


would greatly check emigration. Emigration means to 
take the able-bodied and the best and to leave in the 
country only the weakest and the least courageous. 
Emigration should be encouraged only from a surplus 
population, and Ireland is at present only half-culti- 

" Under Home Rule the Irish instead of being a 
wholly agricultural people might be induced to take up 
many domestic manufactures. Ireland may never be- 
come a manufacturing country like England, since it has 
no coal, but it might well become manufacturing to the 
extent that France is. 

" As for us, we are happier now than we ever hoped 
to be. For the first time a great English party has taken 
up our cause and offers us practically what we wish. The- 
orists must be sensible, and no honest man would for an 
ideal end run the risk of a war." 


The Professor is a foreigner who has lived in Dublin 
for more than twenty years, taking no part in politics, 
but watching with the keen interest of a student of his- 
tory and a teacher of religion the kaleidoscope of Irish 

"The secret of the agrarian distress," he said, "is 
a violation of the principles of political economy, aris- 
ing from the sentimental Celtic attachment to the soil 
which leads the people to disregard their obvious inter- 
ests. In County Tipperary there is little agrarian agita- 
tion, because the farms are large and the land good. 
But the Irish have the same peculiar race sentiments 
that still make Brittany the most backward part of 


France. The peasants there will refuse the most lucra- 
tive positions in a town for the sake of keeping before 
their eyes till they die the gray stones around which as 
children they pastured their sheep. 

" If Brittany were an island it would give the French 
government the same trouble that Ireland gives to the 
English government. The same is true of the Welsh. 
The poorer the soil, the more the Celts seem to be 
attached to it. Their poverty arises from their insisting 
on living on farms too small to support them comfortably. 
This would not be cured by peasant proprietorship, nor 
even by the systematic division of all the land in Ireland 
among the farmers, for even then each man would not 
have land enough to yield him at the present rate of 
prices more than the bare means of subsistence. A com- 
parison with France is misleading, for land there is ex- 
ceptionally good, and the people are the most industri- 
ous and frugal in the world. 

" The spirit of nationalism should not be encouraged 
simply because it is national. Races are formed in the 
beginning like species of animals or plants, by localiza- 
tion. For a long time in the course of civilization it is 
necessary that special social qualities should be devel- 
oped, for adaptation to the purely material environment 
of the country is essential. As time goes on the horizon 
of a people broadens. The influences of soil and climate 
become relatively less important. It is no longer a ques- 
tion of the survival of the fittest among a few tribes in a 
small district, but of the survival of the fittest among the 
nations of the world. The highest civilization then 
requires the reunion in one nation of many local quali- 
ties. One should prune off from the trunk of nation- 
ality those offshoots that have ceased to be productive, 


not because they are national, but because they disqual- 
ify for the battle of modern life ; and those offshoots 
only should be encouraged that are productive, not 
because they are national, but because they qualify for 
that battle. It is deplorable then that such things as 
the Celtic language and the Celtic love of the soil should 
be fostered, as is now done by so many able and honest 
priests and statesmen. They are disqualifications for the 
battle of life. The glorification of the Celtic race as such 
is equally vain. As Sir John Lubbock has shown, it is 
almost absurd to talk of a pure Celtic race. The Eng- 
lish and Irish are mixtures in different proportions of the 
same races. Even the study of early Irish history, largely 
legendary, is of little practical service to-day. 

" The question of Home Rule, so far as it means more 
than local self-government applicable to the whole of 
Great Britain, becomes then, comparatively simple. It 
is desired for the sake of perpetuating national qualities 
simply because they are national ; and for the purpose 
of isolating a community that is too much isolated and 
peculiar already. Moreover, what is to be done now-a- 
days in the world cannot best be done by a small nation. 
In dealing with other nations unity is necessary. In 
domestic matters large means and an absence of local 
prejudice are necessary to advance wisely the civilization 
of the people. Finally, how can a Home-Rule govern- 
ment sustain itself with benefit to Ireland without money 
and without credit ? 

" Of the social confusion of the day, I could say much. 
It is enough that I knew of children not long ago dying 
in Clonmell of scarlatina, because the father was boy- 
cotted, and the apothecaries did not dare to put up the 
doctor's prescriptions." 



"I am a tenant farmer," he began, "but for a dozen 
years I was manager of a country bank. This agricul- 
tural crisis would have come on long ago if it had not 
been for the action of the banks. I was dining with a 
landlord in 1879, who was boasting of how well his rents 
were paid ; at that moment I knew that my bank had 
advanced money to practically all his tenants. At last 
the banks suddenly stopped giving the farmers credit, 
and that helped to bring on the crisis. 

"No matter what reductions the tenants may get, so 
long as these bills are hanging over their heads, the re- 
ductions will do them no good. Until the banks com- 
pound with these poor wretches they will get no relief. 

" The farmers don't want peasant proprietorship, be- 
cause then they will have to pay all the rates themselves — 
the large holders all the county cess instead of half, and 
the small holders all instead of none. They are in debt 
and without capital, and unless the government comes to 
their aid they cannot work their farms to advantage even 
when they own them. It is true there is more money in 
the country than there ever was, and that in the National 
Bank alone there are deposited eight million pounds, but 
it is not in circulation in Ireland. 

" The whole number of agricultural tenants in Ireland 
is about five hundred thousand ; of these one third have 
holdings of under £4 valuation, and another third have 
holdings of under ^10 valuation. It is preposterous to 
make these men proprietors. They would starve. 

" Gladstone's Purchase Bill would simply have left the 
landlords for twenty-five years to squabble over the dis- 
tribution of the purchase money among the chargees on 
the property. It was utterly impracticable. You must 


remember too that there is some injustice in any scheme 
of compulsory land purchase. What do you say to the 
not infrequent case where a man had land in his own 
possession ten years ago and has since let it to tenants ? 
" English rule is hated in .this country, and I am not 
surprised. Look at the Under Secretaryship just vacant. 
Why should the government put in a military officer with 
no knowledge of the country — a man from India, when 
hundreds of able Irishmen are available, men like Sir 
Thomas Butler, if you want a landlord ? Even if a Land 
Purchase Bill is passed, the agitation for Home Rule will 
still continue." 


Not far from Dublin is a low, one-story, rambling, 
thatched farm-house. About the house stretch on every 
side extensive level fields. Crops that are the wonder 
and pride of the whole country-side yearly rejoice the 
heart and overflow the barns of the sturdy, thrifty farmer 
of this rich alluvial land. He was standing in front of 
the creeper-grown porch, with his daughter's St. Bernard 
beside him, when I first met him — a massive man, dressed 
in thick blue serge of the wool of his own sheep, with a 
magnificent Landor-like forehead towering over a face 
that was one large smile. 

In the morning we walked over the farm. The large 
cattle-sheds were built in an original manner, the win- 
dows sloping upwards through the thick walls and widen- 
ing towards the inside, so as to avoid draughts and se- 
cure ventilation. The cows had their horns all cut out, 
to keep them from always " pucking and punting " one 

We turned across the fields. " Beautiful land is the 


Irish land," he said. " On an average neither England 
nor Scotland can compare with the land of Ireland. 
Their first-class land is far inferior to our first-class land ; 
and our second-class land is equal to their first. Cali- 
fornia wheats don't have the same amount of gluten as 
our dark-colored Irish wheat. We are not afraid of any- 
other country under the sun. 

" I never had finer crops of wheat or potatoes in spite 
of the drought. We get three tons of straw to the acre. 

" Look at that crop of wheat ; " he cried, " it is as thick 
as grass in a field. The land is teeming with it ; it could 
hold no more of it." 

On his land he usually has in succession, four white 
crops, one green crop heavily manured, and two hay 
crops. " Off that field, since breaking up the lea, I have 
had one crop of wheat, which was too rank and long ; 
three crops of oats to reduce the land, the first of which 
was too long, the second too light, and the third excel- 
lent ; then one crop of potatoes ; one crop of wheat — a 
magnificent crop, so strong and heavy that it strained the 
self-binder; and the crop of oats we are now looking at." 
From another field in two years he took a crop of pota- 
toes which realized thirty pounds an acre, one of cab- 
bages of the same value, and one of wheat which brought 
in twenty-three pounds an acre. One twelve-acre field 
grew five crops of grass in one year. He raises forty or 
forty-five tons of turnips to the acre, and has not an acre 
of land under tillage from which he does not expect to 
realize twenty pounds over the cost of cultivation. 
Ninety acres he has let at different times for five pounds 
an acre, and there is plenty of larid in the neighborhood 
for which four or five pounds is paid willingly. 

I asked him what rent he paid. " Here 's a piece of 


one hundred and eighty acres. In 1827 it was let for 
;£ioo a year, when the landlord took it up and relet all 
but forty acres to my people for ^128. The lease ter- 
minated last year, when the landlord reduced the rent to 
£82, and agreed to pay half the cess, thus practically re- 
ducing the rent to ^73 or ^74." 

A farmer so prosperous and so intelligent might natu- 
rally be expected to have little cause of complaint with 
the government. He is, however, a strong Nationalist. 
Why, may be best explained in his own words : 

" We cannot compete on the whole with American 
products ; we must then be protected by a duty. The 
agricultural classes cannot be permitted to die out. They 
recruit all the other classes. We were nine millions, we 
are now five millions, and have lost those four million 
laborers and their products. Every laborer sent away 
takes a pound a week, and that is gained by America. 
The laborer is also a consumer of domestic industries, 
and, by his removal, another pound a week may be said 
to be lost by England and gained by America. 

" The protected nation succeeds best. For this rea- 
son the Germans and not the English supply the colonies 
with most of their imports of manufactures, and America 
supplies England with more than two thirds of the 
breadstuffs it consumes. 

11 Reciprocal trade is the great thing, prices will not 
rise till then. 

" I want Home Rule, in the first place because it would 
mean a policy of protection." 

We took a delightful drive through the valley, and 
back along the Wicklow hills. Here and there the 
lofty walls of some gentleman's demesne cut off the view ; 
again we clattered along the ill-paved streets of a little 


village, and near every village were the ruins of deserted 
mills and melancholy rows of cottages, with broken 
window-panes, of long-forgotten mill-hands. " There 
were fourteen or fifteen paper-mills here," he murmured, 
" in my boyhood ; now they are all obliterated, simply 
because the great thinkers of the world decided that 
there should be no tax upon knowledge, and so news- 
papers were sold for a penny instead of sixpence. All 
this looks well, but it does n't work. . . . There 
were, even up to three years ago, ten or twelve flour- 
mills in the neighborhood in operation ; but now all are 
ruined by American competition." 

In the good old times things were very different, and 
I half forgot the jolting of the car, as he slowly recalled 
some of the familiar figures of the past. " My grand- 
father, C, was a farmer with plenty of land. He sup- 
plemented his farm work by dealing in timber. He 
would buy twenty or thirty acres of oak wood and strip 
the bark, dry it, and sell it in Dublin. Of the timber he 
would select what was good enough for ship -building, 
and the debris he made into charcoal. He had two 
sons and five daughters. He and his two sons were 
weavers, and all his daughters carders, and the family 
wove and carded the wool of their own sheep and sold 
the flannel and dressed themselves in it — coats, jackets, 
and trousers were all home-made. They had plenty of 
money to spare for every thing. Now there is not a 
weaver in Wicklow. 

" My great-grandfather, K., was also a farmer in Wick- 
low with a hundred acres, but he was a hatter besides, 
and kept fifty men at work supplying woollen hat frames 
for the English army. I remember him well, and he re- 
membered when the O'Tooles held Wicklow. 


" Nothing at that time was imported but tea and sugar. 
This state of things Home Rule would bring again." 

In the porch of the farm-house we sat talking till late. 
A sincere Catholic, he is not bigoted. We had driven in 
the morning through a miserable little village, with the 
ruins of an old church and a bishop's palace, and he ex- 
claimed : " Wherever the church predominates, the wealth 
of the country ceases to exist." His opinion about the 
disestablishment of the Irish Church is then, perhaps, 
fairly impartial. " I never knew any thing more farcical. 
After the disestablishment, the tithing charges were abso- 
lutely enforced by the commissioners, while previously 
they had been discretionary with the incumbents. As 
to the actual payment of the tithes, which was what we 
complained of, they have not been abolished, but are 
merely paid to different persons. The clergy, too, came 
off very well. A man, ninety years old, with a stipend 
of ,£4,000 a year, receiving twenty-two years' purchase 
of the ;£ 4,000, and his successor getting nothing — that 
was one of the ludicrous sights I saw. I wonder the 
clergymen of England don't at once get disestablished, 
and put their money in their breeches' pockets and walk 
away with it." 

Curiously bitter he was against the landlords. " They 
are vampires and parasites, feeding on the blood, bones, 
and sweat of the people." In spite of the vampires he 
has flourished, but the cause of his hatred is not per- 
sonal. " One third of the produce of the country," he 
said, " passes annually into the hands of the landlords and 
is spent in England ; and if the land comes into the hands 
of the people, it will be more than twice as productive." 

" The subserviency of the Catholics and the intoler- 
ance of the aristocrats, will be slow to pass away, but 


I see the people becoming more self-reliant and inde- 
pendent every day. 

u The Catholics of Ireland do not wish to be separated 
from England. What we want is to rid ourselves of the 
monopoly of England, the centralization of England. 
We want to keep the fruits of our own industry to bene- 
fit our own country, and not have them spent elsewhere. 
I should be very sorry, indeed, to see Ireland separated 
from England. Indeed, its position forbids it. 

" The Parnellite party has not always used unobjec- 
tionable methods, but remember, you cannot make war 
with rose-water. There are some extremists ; they exist, 
however, in all countries, and not merely in Ireland — 
people who wish to get up a scramble. The government 
of the people by the people will exert more influence than 
the British government ever can, and the Irish will then 
become the most loyal people in the empire." 

A very sweet Irish voice interrupted us. " The Cath- 
olic Church," she suggested, " is the greatest friend to 
England in this country, for the clergy are horribly 
afraid of republicanism and of any thing unknown." 

" Yes," said her father, " and the Irish race is by 
nature conservative and aristocratic. Their leaders in 
the past were all gentlemen, and that is one reason for 
ParneU's success. They would never pay so much re- 
spect to one of themselves. Finally, I firmly believe that 
an Irish Parliament would insist on just compensation to 
the landlords. It might be difficult to constitute the 
proper machinery, but it would be done." 


Of the smaller towns in Ireland none has in the stran- 
ger's eyes such an air of prosperity as Athlone. The rea- 


son is not far to seek : it is one of the few manufacturing 
towns outside of Ulster. " Here there is very little pov- 
erty," said the parish priest, Father McKeogh, " because 
there is a fine factory here, Gleeson and Smith's Tweed 
Manufactory, which employs five or six hundred hands ; 
and then in the suburbs the people make a fair living by 
selling vegetables. Six or seven miles off, there are 
grazing farms extending for miles, and at present the 
graziers are not very well off. 

"Home Rule," he continued, "will benefit Athlone, 
because an Irish Parliament will establish woollen facto- 
ries with government money and thus utilize the mag- 
nificent water power of Shannon. 

" I think if the land question were settled, Home 
Rule, however, would become of less importance, and 
the farmers would not be so enthusiastic about it. Home 
Rule to-morrow, with the land question still unsettled, 
would be a very serious matter. A fair Land Purchase 
Act would be taken up by the farmers." 

" Why did they not take advantage of Lord Ash- 
bourne's Act ? " I asked. 

" Many think," he replied," that if they got Home Rule 
they would get the land on their own terms. 

" The temperance question is one of the most im- 
portant matters to-day. If we can make the people tem- 
perate, that will be so much money in their pocket, and 
they will be the more fit for Home Rule." The good 
father then showed me the rooms of the League of the 
Cross. The society has only been started for two or 
three years, and already numbers two or three hundred 
members in Athlone and hundreds more in Galway, 
Castlebar, Ballinasloe, and other towns throughout the 
country. A skittle alley, a billiard-room, and a band- 


room belong to the League, and the cartoons of the 
Weekly Freeman and United Ireland that cover the walls 
sufficiently attest the political preferences of the young 
men of Athlone. 

Over one of the great woollen-mills I was shown by a 
partner. Coal from Wales is used, and not the water- 
power of the Shannon that flows past it. There are 
ninety-two looms and four hundred workmen. The wool 
is taken just as it comes from the farmers, cleaned, dyed, 
spun into thread, and woven into cloth. The average 
output is eleven thousand yards a week, at a cost price 
of a halfpenny a yard. 

" The government," said he, " in the past let the exac- 
tions of the landlords run on till the bulk of the tenants 
were stripped. Farmers of under a hundred acres now 
I don't think have much on their backs. In West Meath 
they are fairly prosperous, and in Roscommon ; but I have 
watched them growing poorer year by year. The land- 
lords about here have had the name of being moderate, 
and some are resident : but even the moderate men have 
not been fair. The tenants, or their forefathers, have 
reclaimed the land. I have known land not worth a 
shilling an acre reclaimed and drained, the stones picked 
or blasted out, and the walls, barns, and outhouses built, 
all by the tenants, and then their rent raised from one 
shilling to thirty shillings an acre. 

" The Irish nation will be more generous, I think, to 
the landlords than an English Parliament. If they think 
the British taxpayers will pay them a guaranty in any 
contingency, I fear they are mistaken ; but the question 
will probably not be left to an English Parliament to 

" The first thing for a Home-Rule Parliament to do 


will be to secure a better system of education, technical 
and industrial education. The tenants have never learnt 
any thing but agriculture : the landlords, who were draw- 
ing all the surplus capital from the country, gave nothing 
in return ; they should have taught the people by found- 
ing schools and starting factories. I would have indus- 
trial schools. England has not the same need of them, 
for every manufactory is a technical school in itself. 

" English competition, it is true, would destroy any 
rising industry here, unless we had exceptional oppor- 
tunities for education. Protection, I do not believe in. 
It is preposterous to have any thing that would raise the 
price of food ; though a small tax on flour might be per- 
mitted. As to duties on manufactured articles, I don't 
believe in that at all. Without protection, we here in 
Athlone have the world at our command ; with protec- 
tion, we should be shut up in Ireland. 

" There can be no great manufacturing centres here as 
in England, but in every village or town there is surplus 
labor that can be got for very little and only needs to be 
utilized. All our own wool ought to be manufactured on 
the spot, and all kinds of hosiery, flannels, and carpets. 
It can be done perfectly well ; I am doing it myself ; and 
if we could make as much more we could sell it all. We 
sell as much out of Ireland as in it ; in England, Scot- 
land, and America ; and we have been busier than ever 
since the Home-Rule movement began and the Dublin 
Exhibition was held. 

"This mill was started in 1859 by an Englishman and 
an Irishman, who lost all they had by it. The failure 
was due to the lack of technically educated hands ; but 
some few did get educated and formed the nucleus for 
another start which ended in a second failure. 


" I learnt the business in a mill that has since failed for 
,£50,000, and left a mill that is now in Chancery to come 
here in 1870. Both failures were due to lack of educa- 
tion. Here after a hard struggle we forged ahead. 

" There is enough capital in Ireland to start industries, 
and nothing is needed from the government but the col- 
lection of information and the diffusion of technical edu- 
cation. The means of transit also need improving. Such 
matters cannot be attended to by an English Parliament. 
There is no use in tinkering with local bodies. I am, 
therefore, a Home Ruler. 

"The Roman Catholic Church would be a guaranty 
against socialism, and I say this though I am a Presby- 
terian. The Irish people are essentially a most conser- 
vative people, and that is a fortunate thing, for there has 
been enough to justify a revolution. Our market is 
England, and must always be on account of our want of 
coal, and separation, therefore, would be ruin. That is 
a false cry." 

It was a great change from the neatness and bustle of 
Athlone to the dirt and sluggishness of Mullingar. Few 
people seemed moving in the streets except an occasional 
half-drunken soldier. At the hotel a drummer could 
not restrain his lamentations. " An hotel like this," he 
shouted, " ought to be thronged on Saturday night ; now 
we two are the only people in the place. I remember 
when during the few weeks before Christmas there were 
thousands of country people in Dublin buying, six hun- 
dred where you find one now. Only fifteen years ago, I 
remember when the ships were ranged along the Liffey, 
with their prows out in the river ; now they lie there 
alongside the shore. Commercials now are few, and 
there are none now at places where I used to meet six or 


a dozen. I don't believe my employers make any thing 
above my travelling expenses, and how they manage to 
keep me going I don't see. 

" These things make me feel the need of Home Rule. 
I used to oppose it, but was converted by this argument 
of a merchant in the North : ' The people of Ireland are 
quite upset now, and their trade is gone in consequence. 
There is no plan suggested that will settle them but 
Home Rule. Therefore, Home Rule is absolutely 

There was a shouting outside and the tramping of 
many men on the pavement. Hayden, the editor of the 
West Meath Examiner, was being taken to prison for 
having obstructed the police at an eviction. The people 
cheered and dispersed gradually as he was rapidly driven 

"This arrest," said the Secretary of the League, as 
he stood at the door of his bakery, " is the most exciting 
thing that has happened here for months. There is no 
political excitement here nor outrages, and there have 
been few, if any, evictions in the neighborhood." 

The president of the League, Father O'Reilley, de- 
scribed the county as entirely a grazing county. "This 
town exists," he continued, " solely by supplying the 
graziers and farmers who come to the fairs and markets. 

" Here and there you find little strips of civilization in 
this country, where there is some manufacturing, but 
such is not the case in West Meath. The trouble is that 
under free trade manufacturers have been driven out 
by the English and Americans. 

"The holdings of the graziers in this county average 
probably two hundred or two hundred and fifty acres, 
and those of the farmers about thirty acres. These 


graziers are chiefly Catholics, but I don't think they are 
very earnest in the cause of Home Rule. They adopt 
that cry from fear of offending their neighbors, for really 
we have as much objection to them as to the landlords. 
They are all practically land-grabbers. Some own four 
or five hundred acres ; and many are sons of poor farm- 
ers, who have gradually bid in from the landlords farm 
after farm of their neighbors, and then have turned the 
whole into pasture land. I don't think they are genuine 
Home Rulers." 

" The question of Land Purchase here, then," I sug- 
gested, " would have rather special and undesirable 

"Yes," he answered, " but these matters are too hard 
to discuss. You should wait and see the Bishop." 


From the windows we looked out over a broad vel- 
vety lawn that sloped down to a large deer park, and in 
the distance was a steep mountain-side, down which was 
falling in the humid air a column of smoke, like a water- 
fall, from a peat bog and plantation lately fired by an 
incendiary. Few men in Ireland can boast of a more 
ancient, or more purely Irish descent than the owner of 
this vast demesne, which his ancestors have held since 
prehistoric times. A few years ago he was the idol of 
the people, to him they used to come to decide their dis- 
putes and to make matches for their children ; now he 
is hated for his open defiance of the National League. 
Yet the rents on the estate are the old customary rents of 
the last century. A neighboring secretary of the League, 
whose father had been a tenant of his called him a gen- 
erous landlord ; and a car-driver in Kilkennv who had 


been born on his property repeated: " A good landlord 
he was ; I knew that in bad years he often gave the ten- 
ants receipts for their rents in full." Many years ago he 
used to be spoken of as " the tenants' friend," and was 
one of the first to advocate in Parliament compensation 
for disturbance by the landlord. Why should such a 
man be pursued with curses and hatred by the whole 
Nationalist press ? The reason, perhaps, was given me 
by the man most competent in Ireland to give a reason, 
one now in jail. 

" In contests between parties," he said, "individuals 
must suffer. If this gentleman were a good landlord and 
not a tyrannous one as I believe, he would still have to 
lose in this contest. It is enough that he belongs to a 
landlords' association." 

" Why should you blame the landlords for doing in 
self-defence exactly what you are doing ? " I enquired. 

"Well, let them," was the answer. "If they do there 
must be war between the two organizations, and we '11 see 
which will win. We are fighting landlordism to the death." 

And yet this landlord is resident, native, benevolent, 
and public-spirited. Outside the demesne gates the 
neatest and most comfortable laborers' cottages line the 
roadside. " But for the good lady at the great house," 
said a laborer's wife to me, " I could not have got through 
the winter " ; and the same good lady draws herself the 
most delicate designs for the lace-work of the tenants' 

In the smoking-room a little company sat talking late 
into the night. 

"I have eight hundred tenants," our host was saying. 
" The average size of a farm on my estate is about four- 
teen acres. Many of the tenants go away as laborers in 


the autumn, and some have plots of only two or three 

" The only practicable scheme of land-purchase would 
be to give the landlord an option to sell under the act, 
and then, on his consenting to sell, to make purchase 
obligatory on the part of the tenants. Otherwise the 
tenants will hold off in the hope of something better 
turning up. 

" How far such a scheme would be taken advantage of 
by the landlords would depend on the amount of the 
purchase price. A fair price cannot be calculated by 
reference solely to the rent or to the value of the tenant 
right. The tenant right is no evidence of the value of 
the land, for a small holding fetches more in proportion 
than a large one, because there are more who want it and 
who could work it. And, as to the rent, obviously a 
rack-renter ought not to get so many years' purchase of 
his rental as a generous landlord. 

u A purchase act, however general, will be, I fear, of 
but temporary benefit, for the landlords of fifty years 
hence will differ from the present landlords only in being 
of peasant extraction and of inferior education. Native 
landlords, will not, probably, be better than the present 
ones ; for almost all the worst cases of rack-renting have 
been on properties held by middlemen, themselves farm- 
ers. Immense quantities of land, too, will in fifty years 
have passed into the hands of money-lenders, ' gombeen 
men.' A gentleman I knew, fifty years ago let a town- 
land to five or six tenants at £2 is. 2d. an acre. A year 
or so ago only one of the original tenants was represented 
in that townland. All the rest of the property was held 
by a money-lender, and the other fifth or sixth had been 
divided between the five children of the original tenant. 


" In order then to effect any good, a purchase bill 
must contain a clause forfeiting the land to the creditor, 
and forfeiting all previously paid instalments, in case 
of subletting before the purchase money has been paid 

"Some years ago a tenant of mine, Mrs. C , sub- 
let a plot of land to a carpenter, who proceeded to build 
a house on it. At once she took steps to evict him and 
let the house and land to another. The carpenter began 
to take up the flooring and carried some of the planks 
away, but was stopped by the caretaker. The carpenter 
assaulted the caretaker and was arrested, and so the case 
came to my notice. That is the way the farmers will 
treat one another." 

" The present movement," said a landlord from the 
neighborhood, " is largely a socialistic one for the divi- 
sion of our property among the people. I heard of evi- 
dence some time ago that some estates had been raffled 
for." " Yes," said a distinguished ecclesiastic, " we 
knew it in 1867. In Cork there are said to be repre- 
sentatives of every property in the south of Ireland, who 
are recognized as descendants of the original owners, 
and are impatiently waiting for the revolution. I fre- 
quently meet the man who is to get my glebe." 

" I know the name of the fellow who is to get my 
property," interrupted our host. " He was in the Fenian 
movement. I should not mind so much if I knew he 
would keep the place up." 

" During election time we can hardly show our faces," 
said a clergyman, " they insult us and the ladies of the 
family in such indescribably indecent language." 

" The President of the League in always bal- 
ances up against my dog-cart in drunken friendliness on 


fair day," said a landlord, " yet he has called me a nar- 
row-minded and bigoted magistrate. ' G / I said 

once, ' why do you tell such lies about me ? ' ' Shure,' 
said he, ' every thing 's fair in political times.' ' But you 
know it 's untrue.' ' Ah, shure your Honor, they did n't 
believe it, they knew the difference.' Then they go and 
elect as doctors for the dispensaries the greatest black- 
guards, who have n't even a diploma." 

" Look at the number of bankrupt Nationalist Unions," 
cried out the clergyman ; " they can't even manage their 
own local affairs." 

" They are very ignorant and priest-ridden," said our 

host. " When I was canvassing for , I went to 

the house of a farmer to ask him to vote for me. His 
wife came to the door and with tears in her eyes said : 

" For , your Honor, don't ask Ned to vote for 

you. Father says if he does my baby will be born 

with horns on its head.' It is chiefly through the women 
that the priests work ; and then the priests stand by the 
polls and mark each man as he goes past. Take any 
parish, take this, and how many liberal-minded Catho- 
lics would you find here ? Not five. In West Meath not 
fifty. A few in Dublin, fewer in Cork, and very few in 
Belfast. Be sure that Home Rule when it comes will 
mean the rule of Archbishop Walsh." 

" During the Franco-Russian war," said another, 
" while France was supposed to be succeeding, our 
lives we thought not worth a moment's purchase : but 
Sedan settled the Irish question for many years. Home 
Rule means civil war. Only the soldiers keep Belfast 
down. The Scotch would pour into the north and 
the Irish-Americans into the south. It would be a case 
of the Kilkenny cats," said the landlord ; " before two 


years were over there would not be a tail left in Ireland. 
England would have to come in, and whichever side 
England took would win. Why begin the fray ? The 
London Companies are already leaving the north of 
Ireland, depriving the people of vast sums they spent in 
charities. I greatly fear the exodus has begun." 


From the hospitable house where we happened to be 
staying I made many little trips in County Carlow with a 
descendant of one of those ancient Norman families that 
were said three centuries ago to have become more Irish 
than the Irish. He is seldom out of Ireland, for his du- 
ties on agricultural societies, local boards, the union, 
grand jury, and the bench are enough with his home 
farm to keep him busy from January to December. His 
popularity with all the people was delightful to see. 
" Good luck to your Honor ! " " Fine day, your Honor ! " 
the farmers shouted as they jolted past us, and for every 
one he had a kind word and a good-natured joke. 

" I own six thousand acres," he said, " and have had 
no evictions for six years, except in the case of a man 
who settled, and I allowed him to sell out, which he did 
for ;£i8o. 

" It cost me ^1,500 some time ago to take up a farm 
of 192 Irish acres, and four years ago I paid ^1,050 
to take up a farm of a hundred acres all in grass. 

"There's H., a schoolmaster, his rent is ^n \os. for 
11 acres. His brother had the farm, but died in debt. 
I took it up and was going to sell it to a neighbor. H. 
wrote to ask me to take him on and I did so. He pro- 
ceeded to build an expensive house on it, far too good, 
and now he owes me ^23 rent. The other day he 


served me with a notice to go into court and have the 
rent fixed. Now that rent has not been raised since 
1820, and no one knows for how long before. 

" I went over my rent roll a short time ago. I had 
complete rent rolls of 1841 and 1881, and I found the 
rental had increased only seven and a half per cent, since 

" The tenants' improvements are much talked about. 
It is usual here for the tenants to make improvements 
that in England are made by the landlord, but there is 
no injustice in this, for rents in Ireland are much lower 
than they are in England. Virtually we pay for the im- 
provements through asking less than the commercial rent 
of the land. 

" As a rule, when a tenant builds a house, he draws 
the slates and does the labor, and we pay for the timber 
and the slates. Bills for timber and slates are taken by 
many of us as cash. 

" All rent is now called rack-rent. Between 1850 and 
1857, under the Encumbered Estates Act, many specula- 
tors bought Irish land, with the intention of selling 
again. Adair, of Glenveigh, was one of that class ; he 
began with only ^£2,000, and went on buying land, raising 
the rents, and selling again at an enormous advance. 
But land owned by old families is invariably let at a rate 
much less than the market price. It is the jobbers who 
have rack-rented. I have never let at the highest market 

Soon we came to the farm, chiefly pasture, with a low, 
neat house not far from the road. " This, a hundred 
and one acres, the rent of which was ^178, and the 
valuation ^127, I took up in 1883 from a tenant for 
;£ 1,050. It came down to me from father and son 


through ten generations. I then borrowed money from 
the Board of Works and rebuilt the house on the old 
foundations. The farm was very much run down when 
I took it, so I spent ^300 in draining it, and have spent 
more than I have made so far. In October last I bought 
fifty yearling bullocks for ^"286. They have had nothing 
but hay and grass, and I expect to sell them in October 
for ^500 or .£550. The only farm hands I keep are a 
steward and a herd, each of whom gets 10^. a week, grass 
for a cow and donkey, and three roods. I sold some 
fifteen months' colts the other day for ^37 \os. Meadow- 
ing hay I sell for from 50^. to 70^. an acre. Altogether, I 
have three hundred Irish acres of grass and tillage, and 
four hundred of wood and waste, and I make from it a 
little more than I should if I let it. 

" Not half of my rents are falling in. The May and 
June rents, which I have usually had paid by this time, 
have n't been paid. 

" We retrench as much as we can. I have had to dis- 
charge a carpenter and a mason I had in constant em- 
ployment for twenty-five years, as well as two hands in 
the garden and four on the farm. There are many like 
myself, who have n't a common copper except what comes 
from the land, and we never know whether we shall have 
any thing in a year's time. Why should we be put in 
this pinch simply because of an exigency of the govern- 
ment ? 

" Free sale, of course, operates as a second rent on the 
purchasing tenant, but the tenants don't think of it as 
such, because they never look on money as a fund ; 
they never think of investing money for the sake of 
interest. The League soon saw that the tenants selling 
and getting high prices for their tenant right prevented 


the courts from reducing the rents, so they denounced 
sale as land-grabbing. It is their interest to keep a 
broken man in possession of a farm, in order to depre- 
ciate its value. I know lots of men who are in difficulty, 
who would gladly sell and invest their money in a smaller 
farm, much to the benefit of everybody, but they are not 
allowed to. 

" The land question is taken up by the priests and Par- 
nellites for different purposes, and by both as a means to 
an end : by the former, in order to expropriate the 
minority who now own the land, who are Protestants ; 
and by the latter, in order to secure a Home-Rule Parlia- 
ment. The young and more rabid priests are leading 
the movement, and the older and better educated are 
following, so as to keep on the crest of the wave. 

" In a system of land purchase, county guaranties will 
only be good if the country continues under the im- 
perial government." 

"Who will leave the country if a peasant proprietary 
is established ?" I asked. 

" I and many others like me," he said, " would not 
go away, and many would go with regret only because 
they could not afford to keep their places. The smaller 
proprietors would be unable to remain. There are an 
enormous number of small landlords who purchased 
Irish land as a good investment, and a great many of 
them will have to go, since they have often retained no 
land at all in their own hands, except one house each 
and a garden plot. The large landlords have great de- 
mesne which they can cultivate, and their grand houses 
and demesne they would be loath to leave and unable to 
abandon, for they certainly could not sell them. Those 
who have no residence here do not live here now, and 


as to them there will be no change. Those who have 
residences here now and live in them will remain if they 
possibly can." 

" Even peasant proprietorship will not cure all agra- 
rian distress. The careful man will purchase from the 
improvident, and the government can never keep a sharp 
enough look-out on the individual farmer to prevent him 
from subletting. 

" The people also are extremely illogical. This sum- 
mer on the Board of Guardians every one wanted to 
keep the rates down, as it was going to be a very hard 
year. I warned them that in a hard year more paupers 
would come upon the Union than in a good year, and 
that that contingency must be provided for. Now, out- 
door relief has increased enormously, and the Union is in 
debt over ^200. 

" If we are to have Home Rule, it will not do to trust 
the present electorate, but one must provide for the 
presence of representatives of capital and commerce, of 
the legal and medical professions, on important boards 
and committees. The merchants of Dublin could be 
trusted, but they are so few in proportion as to be prac- 
tically disfranchised. 

" I would n't trust the people with the administration 
of the criminal law, for at present they are too demoral- 
ized to have regard for law, and if they could, would 
remove a judge who did not decide according to their 

" I would n't trust them with what might be called the 
incidence of taxation, but only with its collection ; for 
if they could, they would throw the burden on unpopular 
persons and classes. 

" The people, I think, are not at heart disloyal when 


they are let alone. The O'Connell movement was aided 
by the desire for Catholic emancipation, which no one 
with a sense of justice could oppose ; and the National- 
ist movement is aided by the agrarian agitation. 

" The leaders of the agitation, however, go to danger- 
ous lengths. This is from a letter written to me by a 
tanner, a prominent leaguer : ' We like our nobility and 
gentry when they promote employment and add to the 
general prosperity of the country, and we desire to have 
them always living in our midst, feeling themselves — as 
they are — quite as secure as if they were surrounded by 
all the armed forces of the British dominions ; taking 
their proper places, not at the tail of an English oligarchy, 
but at the head of the Irish people ; the nobility of an 
Irish self-sustaining, independent nation, and bound to 
England only by the golden link of the crown and by 
ties of affection and affinity.' Home Rule is opposed by 
most on religious grounds. My gardener and steward are 
Protestants, and they are more afraid of Catholic ascend- 
ancy than I am ; they think their lives would not be 

"You ask me what changes in the laws are most 
needed. I am in favor of a duty on flour, dead meat, 
and manufactured articles. Law costs in the Land 
Courts should be reduced. They are absurdly high. On 
January 9, 1882, there were nineteen cases on trial before 
the subcommissioners at Mayo ; six cases were dismissed. 
Of the remaining thirteen, the original rent was £icj 
i8j., the reduction ^40 16s. 6d. The total of the solici- 
tors' charges was £32 10s. : and of the fees to counsel, 

£19 J 9 S - 

"The poor-rate is assessed unfairly. It has always 
been assessed on land only, but why should it not be 


assessed on income ? A farmer living in a house worth 
^30, and making ^100 a year, ought not to pay, as he 
does, the same poor-rate as a trader living in a similar 
house, and making ^1,000 a year." 


Throughout Ireland one sees by every river-side de- 
serted, ruined mills ; but in County Carlow some giant 
water-wheels are turning still. In one of the largest 
of these mills the machinery is elaborate and of the 
newest designs, chiefly of American invention and manu- 
facture. The wheat used is American and Black Sea, 
only ten per cent, being Irish. The output is a thousand 
sacks a week, and is all sold within a radius of fifty 
miles ; for it does n't pay to send flour to the seaboard. 
"I am not a landlord," said the miller, " and the farmers 
speak frankly before me. In their hearts they don't 
want Home Rule, and are sick of the National League. 
Unless a man wants to get a slap at a neighbor, he would 
rather be rid of the League. The only people who gain 
by it are particular shop-keepers who are secretaries or 
treasurers of the local branches. 

" A majority of the people are for Gladstone's bill, but 
a good system of local self-government twenty years ago 
would have saved us all this trouble. In the union the 
Nationalists are a majority, and they obstruct business 
and take every opportunity of insulting us. ' The voice 
of the people is against landlords and Protestants, and I 
go with the voice,' said my gardener to me when I was a 
candidate for office. 

" There would be protection here in a moment, if there 
was the power, for nine tenths of all classes favor it. 
You do meet an odd free-trader now and then, but I 


rarely come across one. All manufactured articles, I 
think, should be taxed, — flour, for instance, but not 

"I don't believe in Home Rule. An Irish govern- 
ment would be practically bankrupt ; it could n't borrow 
money even at twelve per cent. There would also be 
much petty persecution of the Protestants. The Irish 
are less religious than they were, but they are more 
bigoted ; their antipathy to Protestants rests on the idea 
that every Protestant is a friend of England, while they 
wish to get rid of England altogether. The motives of 
the leaders are largely selfish. Is n't it much pleasanter 

for to get three hundred pounds a year to go to 

Westminster and bait Lord Hartington, than to earn 
twelve shillings a week as a stone cleaver ? 

" It is human nature to wish to get every thing as cheap 
as possible, and that is the case with the farmers and the 
land. The Irish farmers have found out that the Land 
Commissioners will reduce the rent enormously on an 
uncultivated farm in bad order, and they act accordingly. 
Still every one knows that the last five years have been 
very bad, and this is the worst of all. As to coercion, 
what the papers say is all nonsense. The matter with 
Ireland is that we have license here instead of liberty." 


My companion was a self-made man in an old sleepy 
town. We walked up and down the long promenade by 
the river's side, fringed with trees, and crowded with 
young men and girls strolling in their Sunday clothes. 
As soon as we could find a comfortable bench a little 
apart from the line of people, who were perpetually 
saluting us, my companion composed himself to talk. 


" Look at that weed-grown ditch," he said, pointing to 
an old embankment at our feet. " That was to have 
been a canal, leading to the sea, to bring provisions to 
the town. ^25,000 was spent on it, but it was never 
finished. The canal was planned by the Irish Parlia- 
ment a hundred years ago. Now it is a ditch full of 

" There used to be a manufactory of blankets here ; 
there were a thousand hand-looms ; there were hatters, 
boot-makers and glove-makers here. These have all van- 
ished off the face of the earth, before English competi- 
tion. It is like the large shop crippling the smaller 
shops. Home Rule would have kept these industries 
alive by wise enouragement. As it is, the agitation for 
home manufactures has at last created a demand for 
Irish woollens, and the woollen factory has recently been 

" It is natural to think that protection would help to 
restore our industries, but there are other means. 

" At present there is great need of technical education. 
That ruined flour-mill below us I should like to turn 
into a paper-mill, but I don't know how to make paper. 
We are not a travelling people and know nothing about 
the trade and the methods of manufacture in use by the 
rest of the world. We depend solely on the produce of 
the land. I would have a technical school in each prov- 
ince, to teach chemistry, political economy, etc., and 
also to be a centre of commercial information about the 
needs of different markets and the current prices. 

" The Protestants fear Catholic oppression. There is, 
however, little bigotry here. Sir J. Gray, M.P. for Kil- 
kenny six years ago, was a Protestant. , who has 

been town clerk of for fifty years, is a Protest- 


ant, appointed by the old Catholic corporation, at a time 
when a Catholic would not be tolerated in office in 
a Protestant town. A few months ago he was retired 
on pension by a Catholic board. A Protestant was 
appointed sessional clerk for the county. I believe 
that, so far from a Home-Rule government being a gov- 
ernment by ecclesiastics, after Home Rule has been 
granted the power of the priests will begin to wane. 
When the people have got the power into their own 
hands and have acquired the habit of thinking for them- 
selves, they will ignore the priest in politics, — and though 
the majority of the Nationalist party at present are co- 
operating with the priests in this agitation, still, they are 
not men who will allow the priests to govern them. 
They are using the priests for their own purposes. It 
was the tyranny of the English government that gave the 
priests their power in the past, for the people had only 
the priests to look to for guidance. Take away the 
English government and let the people govern them- 
selves, and the priests will at once lose their political 
power. The best proof of this is that in all countries 
where the priests have once had political influence, they 
have lost it, as in France and Italy. 

" I pledge my word, though a good Catholic, that I 
think there would be more chance, if there were any 
chance, of making Ireland Protestant, by granting Home 
Rule than by leaving things as they are. The priests, I 
don't think, care a halfpenny ticket about Home Rule, 
but they have to follow the agitation. Religious bigotry 
will decline. Beyond a doubt, in the event of Home 
Rule, this place will be very much Americanized, and 
America is certainly not a priest-ridden country. 

" There is intimidation in the country at present, but 


a Home-Rule government could put down intimidation 
in three days, not so much by putting people in jail as 
by creating a popular sentiment against it. 

" There is not much socialism in Ireland, for it is 
opposed by the Church, and the farmers so soon as they 
get the land will become conservative. Men will always 
try to improve their position, and the laborers individu- 
ally may try to get land, but that they will agitate gen- 
erally against the farmers, I don't believe. It is quite 
possible that the farmers might not be so keen about 
Home Rule if they got the land first ; but the traders in 
the towns will have still to be reckoned with. 

"Absenteeism works great evils in County Kilkenny. 
Lord Ormond draws some ^£20,000 a year from the 
county and spends it elsewhere, and yet he has never 
asked a favor from his town that has not been granted, 
in one case a grant of land, and at another time riparian 
rights. Now, however, the object of the agitation is, of 
course, to make the life here disagreeable to the land- 

" The Land Acts have not finally settled the land 
question. The courts at first gave miserably small re- 
ductions. The costs of the courts are excessive. On 
one property, the Shea estate, it will take five years for 
the reductions to pay off the costs. 

" To-day the crops are poor even where land is good. 
Oats and barley are a quarter crop. Fifty per cent, re- 
duction is necessary this year. 

" The evils of absenteeism and the evils of landlordism 
can be got rid of only by a comprehensive system of 
land purchase, and that is possible only by Home Rule. 

" A bill has been suggested making the purchase com- 
pulsory on the tenants of any estate on the option of the 


landlord, the purchase money to be guaranteed by county 
boards. Such a bill would be ridiculous. The onus of 
cultivation is now the landlord ; for a landlord has either 
to cultivate the land himself or to get some one else to 
cultivate it for him. Such an onus in a bad year is a 
burden, and ought not to be transferred to the tenant 
without his voluntary consent. 

" Again, any such guaranty would be absurd. Sup- 
pose the price fixed be exorbitant ; is it just that the 
county should be liable ? Those on whose shoulders the 
taxes are to be imposed ought to have a voice in fixing 
the amount of the taxes. If a county board is to be 
taxed as a guaranteeing board, it ought to have the power 
of determining the amount of the guaranty, or tax, or 
price of purchase. A special elective board would have 
to be created for the purpose, for a grand jury is neither 
elective nor representative. 

" The only alternative, if the government pass a Pur- 
chase Bill and determine by officials the amount to be 
paid, is for them to give an imperial guaranty. The 
very meaning of ' guaranty ' is that the guarantor has a 
fund over and above the sum guaranteed, something be- 
sides the actual thing guaranteed. If the imperial gov- 
ernment pay too much for the land, they have other re- 
sources ; but a county board would have nothing over 
and above the land of the county, and the value of that, 
or a possibly exorbitant price for that, is what it is pro- 
posed to guaranty. How can you get a guaranty out 
of impoverished land in Connemara, so much rushes, 
bog, and rock ? 

"Why should the government exact a county guaran- 
ty ? Why not make six counties the unit of guaranty, 
for the larger the area the stronger and the less onerous 
Would be the guaranty ? 


" Again, the imperial government confiscated my an- 
cestors' property, and gave it to others. Now that they 
restore it to me, why should they make me assume a 
heavy obligation ? 

" The only other kind of guaranty I can think of be- 
sides an imperial guaranty is a guaranty by a Home- 
Rule Parliament. If an imperial guaranty is impossible, 
the land question can be settled only by an Irish 

" It might be made a condition of granting Home 
Rule that the Home-Rule Parliament will settle the land 
question and guaranty to the landlords a certain yearly 
percentage equal to the current price of money on the 
value of their property, according to a valuation previous- 
ly made, until such time as the purchase money has been 
paid in full. That would be a fair plan, and the only 
practicable one ; and I don't believe there is any proba- 
bility that a Home-Rule Parliament would ever break a 
condition of such a sort precedent to Home Rule itself. 

"We have come round again to Home Rule. Glad- 
stone's bill is open to criticism. I am certainly in favor 
of keeping our representatives in Parliament. It will be 
better for the imperial government for us to have a voice 
in imperial affairs ; it will give Irishmen a chance to 
work and speak in England, and will tend to preserve 
amity. The obstruction which was, I admit, vicious in 
the past will cease when the causes of it are removed. 

" Then, no matter how parties may change and shift in 
Ireland under Home Rule, it will make no difference to 
England so long as hatred of England does not increase ; 
and that, I believe, will not be the case, for Home Rule 
is not an opening wedge for separation. That, indeed, 
would be impossible, for a few men with sticks in their 
hands are not an army and cannot make a revolution." 



This is a "man of great energy of character, which has 
built up a large and prosperous business, and won him 
the admiration and love of the people. Although a 
Protestant and not active in public life, he has been pub- 
licly honored by a Nationalist and Catholic corporation. 
Every one speaks well of him. How does such a man 
regard the political and social questions of the day ? As 
we strolled through his long green-houses, he tried to de- 
scribe to me his state of mind, — one that seems to be 
characteristic of the more thoughtful, serious, and con- 
scientious business men throughout Ireland. 

"Home Rule," he said, "means throwing the entire 
political power of the country into the hands of the 
Catholic priests. The lower orders will do exactly what 
the priests tell them. The influence of the priests in pol- 
itics is, however, not so great as it will be. In a move- 
ment like this, the great political feeling that is excited 
for the moment excludes all others, and the religious 
feeling is suppressed ; but so soon as the political ques- 
tion is settled, the religious feeling, which is now only 
latent, will predominate. I regret this, not so much be- 
cause it will be injurious to the Protestants, as because 
it will be fatal to the country, for no country can be 
properly governed by a body of ecclesiastics. 

" An infallible church, however, must be a persecuting 
church : it can allow nothing to stand up against it. 
They might take our churches from us, but they might 
do infinitely more serious damage by petty persecution. 
It would be quite possible to make the country too hot 
for a Protestant to live in it. There are many liberal 
Catholics, but in the practical working of Home Rule 
would not they be thrust aside ? Archbishop Walsh said 


once that it was infamous that in the Catholic city of 
Dublin the finest site should be occupied by a Protestant 

I referred to the popular discontent, and the apparent 
inefficacy of the land acts to check it. " They are all 
mere stop-gaps," said he. "What other remedy is there 
but Home Rule ? I cannot suggest any. Gladstone's 
speech was an able argument, but T have been and am of 
the opinion that Home Rule is not workable ; that things 
would come either to a separation, for the people are 
more or less in favor of separation, or to the restoration 
of the present conditions ; and meantime the country 
would be kept in hot water, by which I mean that there 
would be no place for a business man in it. I would, how- 
ever, certainly be a Home Ruler, if I could convince 
myself that the country would settle down under it. 

" I am afraid that Irish discontent is a permanent evil. 
In 1782 the Irish Parliament became practically inde- 
pendent, the country may have prospered, but ten years 
afterwards it was in a state of rebellion, and the rebellion 
would have effected a revolution, if it had not been sub- 
dued by force of arms. 

" If the bulk of the people were agreed on this subject 
as they are in the South and West, there might be some 
hope ; but the better and more energetic classes of the 
North are against it to a man. 

"It is true that business will never prosper till the 
political question is settled. What chiefly affects busi- 
ness is confidence or the want of it. Would the country 
at large have sufficient confidence in a Home-Rule gov- 
ernment ? The whole thing is a gigantic experiment, 
and it is very difficult to know beforehand how it will 
turn out. 


" The welfare of England is largely our welfare. If 
England were reduced to a third-rate power to-morrow 
and its wealth dispersed, we should seriously suffer here. 
But whether a Home-Rule Parliament might not interfere 
with English success at a critical moment, I really cannot 

" Peasant proprietorship would be beneficial to busi- 
ness, for there would -then be no absentees, and all the 
money got from the land, after the purchase money was 
paid, would be spent in the country. I don't think na- 
tionalization of the land will take place under Home 
Rule, because of the influence of the Catholic clergy, 
and of the land hunger, which is as great as ever it was. 
The insecurity of tenure was what specially impoverished 
the country, and if the people would only settle down 
peaceably, without Home Rule, the country would pros- 
per, but that they will not do. 

" The proclamation of the League was unwise. It 
ought to have been suppressed at first. It is the nature 
of things to culminate, and then to decline, and the 
League was beginning to decline. The best way of 
treating it would have been to despise it. The League 
has never been in violent opposition to the law. The 
people here were never very enthusiastic about it ; those 
most so were some workingmen who had been out in 
the Fenian movement. As to Home Rule, however, the 
people almost to a man are in favor of it. The franchise 
is now almost manhood suffrage, and men of the lower 
classes always like to do things in a flock ; they don't 
like to be on the losing side, and always vote for the 
man they expect to win. It would require the Duke 
of Wellington and the whole English army to put this 
movement down. The English government here is now 


only nominal, and Home Rule is safe to come sooner or 

" Some advantages may come with it. There is a 
great deal of capital lying idle here, that a bounty sys- 
tem could make operative, besides tempting more. Pro- 
tection, generally, however, would be impracticable on 
account of the laborers who would be unwilling to pay 
more for food or clothing. The falling off in business, 
however, I do not attribute wholly to the agitation, but 
partly to the general depression. The telegraph and 
railways, again, would make rebellion very difficult. 

" But, in spite of this, I must say that it is my firm con- 
viction that we shall get Home Rule ; that in ten, twenty, 
or more years, there will be either such anarchy here or 
so general a rebellion for complete separation that the 
English government must interfere and put us back 
where we are now, and that this series of movements and 
counter-movements will be continued ad infinitum. Of 
the Land Acts I have little more hope, for, as I have 
said before, they are mere stop-gaps, — and, besides, the 
Irish land-hunger and thriftlessness will create a new 
class of landlords, who again will have to be expropri- 

" You seem painfully pessimistic," I could not help re- 
marking as I shook hands. 

" 1 wish I could be otherwise," he replied, " but I am 
simply stating, as frankly as possible, my honest thoughts, 
so far as I know them. And in spite of all, there will be 
no unreasonable opposition to Home Rule here ; we will 
give it a fair trial. Mr. Jones in New Ross recently 
transferred a large factory for dressing skins to England, 
but I don't think I would transfer my business even if I 
could, as I couldn't." 



A young solicitor at the office of the League I asked 
about the alleged excesses caused by the Plan of Cam- 
paign. " The tenant farmers," he said, "have enor- 
mous respect for the word ' rent.' A money-lender here 
told me the other day that they raise money at extraordi- 
nary rates to meet their rent. 

" ' No rent ' is not the meaning of the people, though 
the cry might not be so unjust as it seems to be. The 
judicial reduction of rents is in some sort a measure of 
what the landlords have taken in excess of their just 
dues. The excess that the tenants have thus been shown 
to have paid would at a moderate compensation amount 
to ten years' purchase of their farms. So we might 
argue that no more rent is due. Thousands of pounds, 
moreover, is now owing to shopkeepers, and those debts 
are as just obligations as the rent. The farmers, how- 
ever, would be glad to settle. Many of them purchased 
under Lord Ashbourne's Act at prices far in excess of 
the value of the land. 

" Cork County is free from crime. The East Riding 
is quite free and the West Riding nearly so. At the last 
assizes in the city only four petty bills were presented by 
the grand jury. There are only four or five places where 
there is any outrage or boycotting, and that is where the 
landlords are fighting the Plan of Campaign. There are 



outrages at Millstreet, but there is the only priest in the 
county who speaks against the League. It is a bad thing 
when the priest is not in sympathy with the people, for then 
he cannot restrain them. If the League is suppressed, a 
great deterrent of crime will cease to operate, for the peo- 
ple will then be acting for themselves, without their leaders 
and priests working with them and directing them." 

" Is the Plan of Campaign just," I asked, " in insisting 
on all the tenants being given the same reduction, no 
matter how different their circumstances?" 

" While twenty can pay their rents," was the answer, 
*' forty often cannot. If the twenty, who perhaps have 
large means, pay, the forty small tenants are evicted, at 
the mercy of the landlord. It then is an act of charity 
on the part of the twenty to throw in their lot with their 
neighbors. On the Luggacurran estate one tenant had 
an estate rated at ^900 a year, and another at ^"1,400. 
They were the first to suffer. They were able to pay, not 
out of their profits, but out of capital which the rest did n't 

" Free trade is not worth discussing, but there used to 
be any number of mills about Cork which have long 
ceased to exist. When these mills were burnt down it 
was not worth while to rebuild them. One was burnt 
lately here, and another two years ago at Middleton. 
Neither has been rebuilt. Only two mills are now oper- 
ating here. Forty years ago my father was a great buyer 
of wheat here for export to Glasgow, now American flour 
is delivered here almost cheaper than the domestic grain. 

" There used to be a great export trade in provisions 
here. Now it is gone, except the export of butter. The 
leather trade is also failing, and there are only two or 
three tanneries where there used to be fifty. 


" To some extent, perhaps, this loss of trade is due to 
the decline in population. 

" What particular benefits do I expect from Home 
Rule ? The Irish Parliament would foster the fisheries 
by grants more wisely and energetically than the English 
government. For instance, small protection harbors and 
piers are needed along the coast. Now we cannot com- 
pete with English, Scotch, or French fishermen. 

"There would be a body of clever men anxiously 
studying and encouraging Irish industries. So much 
intelligence applied to one object would be sure to 
have some influence for good. Judicious bounties 
would start manufactures. There would be a great 
saving in the expense of private legislation. The in- 
creased economy and the wise encouragement of trade 
might fairly be expected to bring back some of the pros- 
perity Ireland enjoyed under the old Parliament, when 
all the finer public buildings in Dublin were erected." 

I asked whether it might not be dangerous to have the 
judges appointed by a Dublin Parliament in view of the 
violence of local prejudice. " On the contrary/' said 
he, " the fair administration of justice would then be the 
interest of everybody." 


In the list of boycotted persons published by the Cork 
Defence Union my attention was caught by the case of 
J. McCarthy, for the cause assigned for the boycotting 
was that he " took a neighboring farm which had been 
vacant for two years previously." One fine morning I 
drove out to see him, in the townland of Barracharang, 
fifteen Irish miles from Cork. His house, a square, low 
wooden building, is at the end of a long muddy lane, sur- 


rounded by a morass of sodden manure. A man with 
goatee and lean cheeks like a typical Yankee, with an 
honest voice and keen, clear eyes, John McCarthy wel- 
comed us with the enthusiastic warmth of one who sel- 
dom sees a friendly face. 

"When we took this farm last April four years," he 
began, " there was no boycotting. The farm was not 
considered an ' evicted ' farm, for the tenants had gone 
to law with one another and had reduced themselves 
to nothing when Mrs. Longfield evicted them. The law- 
suit began in 1872, and every one from here to Cork 
knows that the farm was vacant for years before we took 
it. Six or eight of the neighbors bid for the farm, but I 
was preferred as I had been a tenant of Mrs. Longfield's 
son. For many months the people were friendly. Then 
Callaghan, one of the former tenants, complained that he 
would have got the farm if we had n't interfered. Then 
a great meeeting was held at Donoughmore ; they had 
two M. P.'s down here, J. C. Flynn and Dr. Tanner, who 
told them lots of lies, told them that we were land-grab- 
bers. Mr. Flynn called on every one to boycott us, and 
not to speak to us. Dr. Tanner, who admitted to me 
that this was not a ' grabbed farm,' did nothing but de- 
nounce land-grabbing. The people made up an effigy 
of me, painted it, put a pipe in its mouth, set it on a don- 
key, marched it up and down the village at the time 
of the meeting, and then threw it down and battered it 
to bits. They called us traitors. 

" In August I offered for sale a lot of meadowing. 
Suddenly notices were put up warning people not to 
buy it, and I did n't sell a pound of the forty acres. 
On August 7th one of the two smiths in Donoughmore 
refused to work for me, and the other was threatened 


and soon boycotted me too. All the local tradesmen 
boycotted me. The next year the League pressed my 
men to leave me. They were hooted and threatened. 
June 13th they left me, and for some weeks we had 
no help at all. In September I hired a neighbor's boy 
for twelve months, and before two weeks were out shots 
were fired into the windows of this room, the bedroom, 
and the kitchen. The bullets made these holes in the 
shutters. No one was arrested, though we could give 
a strong guess at the parties. The day after I let the 
boy go. That day, a Sunday, I was hooted at mass, and 
stones were fired at me as I left the chapel. The Sunday 
after my wife was bedaubed with rotten eggs in the chapel- 
yard. The next Sunday my brother and his wife were 
bedaubed with rotten eggs and hit with stones, and neither 
she nor this woman have been to chapel since. 

"In October or November I went to Macroom fair 
with some cattle. I sold them, and the purchaser after 
paying a deposit drove them into a yard. Two fellows 
warned the man the cattle were boycotted, and they were 
at once turned out of the yard. They were returned to 
me and I brought them home again. From that day to 
this we have sold no cattle at any fair or market. On a 
Patrick's day I sent a lot of pigs to Kanturk. At mid- 
night four men, one the secretary of the League, and an- 
other one of the committeemen, started from here and 
got to Kanturk before my boys did. The boys thought 
they had better bring the pigs back. 

" For a time we were in a great hobble, for my butter 
was boycotted. I cannot get a tailor, carpenter, or black- 
smith nearer than Cork, and even in Cork tradespeople 
who used to give us credit now refuse it. Our letters 
have to be left at the police barracks, for no one dared to 


bring us letters from the place the post-boy leaves them. 
Laborers I can get only through the Cork Defence Union. 
Our neighbors visit us only on the sly, at night and in dis- 
guise ; for if they were seen speaking to us they say they 
would be called before the League. 

" Those two young chaps were confirmed last July. 
They were often assaulted on their way to chapel, and on 
the day of the Bishop's visitation one was brutally beaten, 
and his face cut with a stone. I presented him next 
morning to the Bishop, and he threatened to excommu- 
nicate any one who molested people in their religious 

" We have suffered as much as any persons in County 
Cork. Boycotting is worse than the plague. We would 
have given up the farm before but we hoped the League 
would be suppressed, and we believed that in twelve 
months after that we would have quiet again. To this 
day half the people say and think that we are wronged, 
but no one dares to speak to us openly for fear of the 
League. This June two years, I went to the League 
rooms in Donoughmore, before the committee, and of- 
fered to give up the farm if they would let me have the 
laborers to save the crops. The chairman said that the 
rule was that I must give up the farm presently and with- 
out conditions ; that was the order of the central board. 
But for the Defence Union and that little party of land- 
lords I and my family would be in the workhouse. 

" There is a good deal of boycotting in the neighbor- 
hood. The police of Donoughmore are boycotted. No- 
tices boycotting them were pasted even on the donkeys' 
backs. The young women are forbidden to speak to a 
policeman — if a girl does so, she is boycotted. The Ca- 
tholic curate about a year ago denounced a young man 


for throwing eggs at a respectable farmer. The people 
said that the farmer's daughter had held a policeman's 
head while he was having a tooth drawn ; and the curate 
was boycotted. The priests get turf, hay, and oats from 
the farmers, and they all refused to give him any. Two 
or three years ago the parish priest was boycotted be- 
cause he would n't join the League. One day he took 
two loads of corn to a farmer's hay-yard to be threshed, 
and in the evening the neighbors carted it all back to 
him, just as it was. They generally refused to go to his 
stations too. 

" Timothy Harlehy, who has a farm next mine of 
some sixty acres, was evicted May last by his landlord, 
Mr. French. For several nights he slept out-of-doors 
and his wife at a neighbor's. He then was put back as 
caretaker. The people then boycotted Harlehy, because 
I suppose he did n't care to go on sleeping for ever in 
the open air. They burnt his hay rick. They broke his 
mowing machine by spiking the meadow with bits of 
iron. His brother-in-law took off a cartload of Har- 
lehy's corn to his barn to thresh. Two or three nights 
afterwards two shots were fired into the bedroom of the 
laborer who carted the corn. The man explained that 
the corn had been taken in payment of a debt, and even 
then there was a great fight in the League about taking 
his boycott off. Another man, Barratt, helped Harlehy 
in threshing. Barratt's corn happened to be stacked in 
the field, and the next day the bindings were cut and the 
corn scattered. 

" We have been under police protection ever since our 
house was fired into — two policemen sleep here every 
night, and we feel uneasy if they are late. People don't 
care if they kill a man about here, for they know nothing 
will happen to them if they do. 


" Some six years ago I joined the League. A thresh- 
ing machine was promised me by the owner, and he re- 
fused to let me have it unless I joined. I was afraid, and 
I went in with another farmer, also under compulsion. 

" Half the people have been coerced into joining the 
League. The respectable farmers don't attend the 
League meetings here, and the parish priest does not 
control it. If one of the members has a spite against 
you, there is no doubt but that you will be boycotted for 
one reason or another. The farmers are getting cool 
about the League. It has been necessary, but is neces- 
sary no longer now that the Land Acts have been 

" The land is very poor in this townland. The crops 
are miserable. Nothing is good here but Champions. 
Rent is too high here. I am paying fourteen shillings 
an acre. Some of the land is boggy and not worth four 
shillings an acre, but some of the arable land would stand 
you over a pound. I don't believe there is a man who 
can make his present rent. But the landlord is a good 
man and does not press us. We were given 25 per cent, 
last gale day, but that is not enough. If we were pressed 
every man would be evicted. There is not a tenant but 
owes from two to three or four years' rent ; yet the land- 
lord is popular. He came down here yesterday, and the 
village band turned out to meet him, and the people drew 
his carriage down to Donoughmore Cross. 

u There are talking against the landlords a good many 
Land Leaguers who if they were in their places would be 
much worse. A little while ago, before Captain Stokes, R. 

M., one D , a National Leaguer, sued a laborer for 

thirteen shillings, arrears of rent, and settled the case in 
court for half his manure, which he took and laid out on 
his own farm. They will exact the last farthing. 


" There are two sides to every question. What do 
farmers give to the poor ? How many laborers do they 
employ ? Will they, when they become proprietors, 
give as much and employ as many as the large land- 
lords ? This country at any rate will never be without 
landlords. These may be hunted out, but there will 
be new ones and worse. If this property were owned by 
one of our neighboring farmers, more people would be 
evicted than are now. The farmers are sharp about 
money matters. Croften here, who was the secretary 
of the League and is now the postmaster, owed seven 
years' rent when the Arrears Act was passed. He went 
into court and had the arrears wiped off, and has n't paid 
a halfpenny since. 

" Bad as they are here," said McCarthy, as I turned to 
go, " they are much worse elsewhere. I don't even con- 
demn boycotting absolutely. A man who goes behind 
another's back and takes his farm, might be fairly boy- 
cotted ; but then the people ought to make sure of the 

Something that Mrs. McCarthy said showed that she 
had some opinions of her own about the reason for their 
being so persistently boycotted. Her eyes twinkled 
when I asked her to tell me what she thought about it. 
"Well," she said, with a little hesitation, "the leaders of 
the League here are the poorest and lowest of the people. 
Chief among them are some young men belonging to a 
wrangling family named B . Their father had a law- 
suit with a neighbor sixteen or seventeen years ago, and, 
when the suit went against him, hung himself. A friendly 

farmer told us that one of the B boys said we had 

called them the hangman's sons. We would never have 
said such a thing, and we would n't say so now. But 


there was a boy in our house who might have said some- 
thing of the sort. Then, when Callaghan said he would 

have got the land if we had n't taken it, the B s were 

glad to turn his talk against us, and boycotted us out of 

I drove on to Donoughmore, a wretched little village, 
and called on Father Murphy, the Catholic curate. " I 
know nothing about the merits of McCarthy's case," said 
he, " and wonder how you came to hear of it. This 
movement began with the tenants pledging themselves 
not to take a farm from which another had been evicted 
unjustly. Then the principle was extended to all evic- 
tions. This may explain why McCarthy was not boy- 
cotted at first. The principle was not definitely formu- 
lated for some time. 

"I know he has been boycotted very hard. His 
brother and his brother's wife, as well as his personal 
family, were not allowed to come to church, and have 
since been annoyed coming and going. Other members 
of the congregation were not allowed to sit in the gallery 
with them, and some who did so were insulted. McCarthy 
was reputed a good, honest man till he took the farm. 

" No clergyman is permitted to attend a political meet- 
ing without the permission of the parish priest, and in 
this parish the clergy take no part in the League. 

" In the matter of boycotting, I distinguish between 
active and passive boycotting, and discountenance active 
boycotting only. 

" Home Rule we all want, because the Irish are a na- 
tion, and a nation ought to govern itself. Moreover, the 
imperial Parliament has been drawing the money out of 
the country. A home Parliament would develop our 
industries by advancing money and by giving bonuses." 


I then tried to find Bat Callaghan's public-house. We 
had to ask the way. At one house the driver got down 
and knocked at the door. A woman opened it, and, at 
sight of a tall man in a long, rough coat, ran back, shriek- 
ing hysterically in great terror. Finally I found Cal- 
laghan, an old man, with drooping lip and shaking hand. 
" I bought the land," he said slowly, " from a woman who 
had no right to sell her son's part, but I knew nothing of 
it. The son sued me, and went from post to pillar. At 
last, I was only entitled to one third of the farm, though 
I kept possession of the whole of it." 

"My father," the daughter explained, "had paid no 
rent for the ten years when he was in possession, and the 
others paid nothing. Then the landlord evicted them all, 
and got the whole into his hand. We were evicted several 
times, and put back again. It was twelve months from 
the last eviction when McCarthy took the farm. My 
mother acted as caretaker for a time, living here and 
going over there once in a while. For a year or two there 
were no crops on the place. For some years we let the 
neighbors feed their cattle off it." 

" The landlord," said Callaghan, " asked me to bid for 
the farm, and I offered £6o y three pounds less than the 
old rent. I am glad I did not get it, for I could n't have 
paid the money, nor could the cousin who was going to 
take the farm in my name. McCarthy offered the old 

" They are boycotted ! " shrieked Mrs. Callaghan glee- 
fully. " When they went to mass they were pelted with 
stones and eggs. No one will speak to them or sit in the 
same gallery with them. Oh, they are boycotted ! As 
for us, we are as much after the old farm as we were the 
day we left." 


" McCarthy came here," suggested the daughter, "and 
offered us money for my father's good-will, but we 
would n't take it." 

" Did you see the place," asked the old man, " covered 
with stumps of trees ? The landlord gave McCarthy 
and a few others leave to cut wood there. Then all the 
neighbors went in, and every man had his tree, the whole 
country-side, and all the trees were cut down in one night." 
In a few minutes the ruined wood, with the trees sawn off 
four or five feet from the ground, loomed weirdly before 
us in the moonlight as my car galloped on to Cork. 


Half-way from Fermoy to Mitchelstown we caught the 
first glimpse of the gleaming white towers of Mitchels- 
town Castle. " Ha ! ha ! " shouted the driver, " we '11 
soon have the green flag floating there, with the harp 
without the crown." Soon we were in the little town, a 
town celebrated in the old posting days, but now deca- 
dent and wellnigh lifeless. The post-car stops in a 
square, where on the broad green a gayly dressed party 
are playing tennis. The old ladies from the " College " 
opposite, where, by the generosity of an old Lord King- 
ston, twenty-six ladies in reduced circumstances enjoy 
half a house each and a pound a week, are sunning 
themselves near the tennis nets. A tennis tournament 
in " a plan of campaign " town. What a contrast ! Upon 
the green open the great gates of the demesne, and the 
broad road leads slowly up to the castle, more splendid 
than many a palace, with its Gothic entrance flanked by 
lofty towers, with its gallery a hundred and fifty feet 
long, and eighty bedrooms. On the gravel-walk pea- 
cocks are jauntily strutting. 


The estate is, as is well known, one of the most 
heavily indebted in Ireland. The building of the castle 
cost fabulous sums in the first quarter of the century, 
and the hospitality of Lord Kingston, the friend of 
George IV., was magnificent but ruinous. In 1845 or 
1846 the mortgage on the property was foreclosed, and 
the story of the seizure and the fortnight's siege of the 
castle is one of the most romantic episodes in the ro- 
mance of "New Ireland." In 1850 the estate was sold 
under the Encumbered Estates Act, and for a time con- 
trolled by a land company. Some years ago the mort- 
gages were consolidated into a single mortgage of some 
^240,000 to the Representative Body of the Church of 
Ireland, and the interest, a little less than ^9,500, con- 
sumes yearly three quarters of the entire rental. The 
rents are in the main identical with those in force at the 
beginning of the century, and average less than those 
fixed by the agent of the Court of Chancery in 1845-6. 

Such was the state of affairs when in November, 1886, 
the tenants combined to demand an all-round reduction 
of 25 per cent., a reduction which if granted would have 
swept away the entire surplus above the mortgage inter- 
est. Lady Kingston, acting in the absence of her hus- 
band, offered to give reductions of from 10 to 30 per 
cent., according to individual necessities, — and the plan 
of campaign was adopted. 

Early in the spring a public auction was held of all 
the cattle on the estate. The object, of course, was to 
leave nothing for the landlord to distrain. A violent 
speech was made by Mr. Mandeville, M. P., threatening 
those tenants who still held aloof from the combination. 
From that time on severe boycotting prevailed. The 
night of February 5th placards were posted throughout 


the country-side. This is what they said : " Boycott ! 
Boycott ! ! Boycott ! ! ! Fellow-countrymen, be not de- 
ceived, boycotting is not done away with. Disregard 
the language of cowardice, no matter by whom uttered. 
Stand firmly by your homes, by your wives, and little 
ones. Strike at your tyrants ! All your hopes and for- 
tunes are centred in this fight. Strike ' now or never, 
now and forever,' at every one who assists Anna King- 
ston, Lady Kingston, to recover oppressive rents, or who 
pays them. Boycott that disgrace to her sex — Anna 
Kingston, the grass widow, the hard-hearted. Boycott 
Frend, the agent, the pig-headed representative of the 
Church Body, who dismissed the laborers. Boycott 
Bulldog Maria O'Grady, solicitor, who betrayed every 
client who had the misfortune to be associated with him. 
Boycott Benson, the insolent whelp, whose insolence 
and extortion all of you have experienced. Strike at the 
outposts of the castle ; you know who they are. Boy- 
cott Jim Neill, the hangman, and family ; Neddy Kelly, 
the ex-farmer ; Dicky FitzGibbon, Clerk of the Union, 
the only land-grabber in the district, and his brood of 
upstarts ; gombeen-man Coache, and his apostate wife, 
the only associate of Benson, and all bailiffs on the 
estate, — shun them. Let others, too, take warning and 
beware of their fate, or their turn will surely come. By 
order of the Vigilance Committee. N. B. — John Cough- 
Ian, of Hemingstown, has paid his rent. Boycott him and 
his shorthorns, and dairy farms. Dairymen, beware ! " 
The shopkeepers in town, who had been chiefly sup- 
ported by the castle, wrote humble letters begging to be 
excused from filling the orders of Lady Kingston. So 
many were the boycotted people, that opposite the green 
a shop was opened by Lady Kingston for their benefit ; 


every thing was kept there, from pork to pepper, soda to 
stockings, and young ladies ran in and out with a most 
amusing air of proprietorship. " Bulldog Maria O'Grady " 
was boycotted. " The reason I have n't been to my 
office lately," he said, " is that my servant has been sent 
off to America, and I have no one to tidy it up. In 
January the Leaguers announced that they would n't let 
me, my clerk, servants, or their children go to the parish 
church, and the priest, through Father Sexton, re- 
quested me not to go for the sake of peace. Two old 
clients of mine, one a shopkeeper and the other a seeds- 
man, have been punished by fine and boycotting for em- 
ploying me. They threatened to boycott O'Brien, a 
magistrate, for employing me, and he, for business rea- 
sons, purchased his peace with them." Benson, "the in- 
solvent whelp," was boycotted. " They broke the skull 
of the bailiff with an iron hammer, making a fearful 
wound. The sheriff swore he saw a certain man strike 
him, and the man was tried but acquitted." Dicky Fitz- 
Gibbon and his " brood of upstarts " were boycotted. 
" His daughter, a pretty girl, fifteen or sixteen years old, 
on her way to church, was pursued by a hooting mob, and 
when she took refuge in a shop the shopkeeper put her 
out. All his servants have left him, and his children are 
not allowed to go to school." 

" The tenant right on the estate brings as high a price 
as ever. For instance, February n, 1885, James Moore 
sold to his son on his marriage thirty-four statute acres, 
the rent of which was ^21, for ^275, and a covenant to 
support him ; January 29, 1885, Mary M. sold to Patrick 
Clifford, ten acres and two roods, rented for seven 
guineas, for ^"150 ; in 1886, a small house, held under 
lease, paying 10s. a year ground rent, was sold for ^500 ; 


April 22d, Thornton sold to Roach, a small cottage and 
nine acres, held under lease, and paying ^5 a year rent, 
for ^365 and costs, ^10 ; June 1, 1887, John Quinlan 
sold to Daniel Wallace, a small plot of half an acre, paying 
\os. rent, for ^£200 and costs, ^12." The amount of the 
costs surprised me. "What the landlord and tenant," 
said Mr. O'Grady, " used to settle between themselves is 
now, owing to the recent legislation, transacted through 
the lawyers and the court. So that now the costs amount 
to pounds instead of shillings. ^5 is the usual charge 
for drawing an instrument ; the fees are about ^5 ; and 
£2 for my perusal, on account of the landlord. The office 
never charges for drawing such instruments, so by boy- 
cotting me the tenants double their costs. 

" The people are demoralized. They dodge their own 
priests if they can. Near Fermoy they nailed up the 
chapel every Sunday for five or six months. The priests 
lose money hand over hand, for the people are becoming 
independent of them through the influence of returning 
American Irish. 

" Home Rule is a hollow sham. Six hundred thousand 
farmers support it because of the land agitation, and the 
needy classes because they have nothing to lose, and see 
before them a magnificent prize — the revenues of Ireland. 
Under Home Rule there will be ten years of chaos and 
terrorism, and then decent men will gradually come to 
the front again. 

" There is enormous distress here, but it does not 
touch the farming class, but only the laborers and the 
servants. The laborers are very badly off. Several 
hundred used to find employment on this one estate. 
The landlords to-morrow, with ^200 or ^300, could get 
hundreds of laborers to tear the roofs off the farmers' 


With Canon O'Regan I had some talk about the state 
of affairs. " Suppose the Kingstons cannot afford to 
grant reductions that richer landlords give, why should 
the people suffer ? That great palace there was built out 
of the earnings of the farmers. Why should the people 
starve to enable Lady Kingston to live there ? Money was 
squandered recklessly in the past, it is just that the pres- 
ent should pay for it." Yet there is something touching 
in the thought of that gentle, sad-voiced lady in that 
noble castle, for the last time perhaps, watching the pea- 
cocks strutting on the gravel, or for the last time stroll- 
ing through the vast conservatories. 

In the village the people speak with curious hatred of 
the Kingstons, for whom even A. M. Sullivan felt com- 
passion. They repeat dreadful traditions of impossible 
cruelties in the eighteenth century, and refer vaguely to 
a curse that the estate shall never pass from father to son 
for more than two generations, a curse that at least is 
verified by the facts. 

It seemed strange to carry these thoughts to a brilliant 
ball, and even then they could not be forgotten, for our 
hostess had herself her own troubles with her tenants, 
who had only just consented to an arrangement ; and 
many ladies were present who had been reduced to gen- 
teel beggary by the failure of family charges that were 
expected to endure forever. As the party broke up in 
the early morning, a report spread suddenly that a bailiff 
had been shot, and a policeman wounded ; and as we 
walked home we passed a burning hay-rick, surrounded by 
a crowd of jeering rowdies, that no one tried to save. It 
was said to belong to a widow who had brought back her 
cows from the place where they had been concealed by 
order of the League. On arriving at the castle, we found 


that all the windows had been smashed in the beautiful 
house of an absentee neighbor, and that a successful 
raid had been made by the Kingston bailiff, who had 
driven sixty-two of the tenants' cattle into the demesne. 
The next day we sat up half the night in the long billiard- 
room, with all the arms that could be mustered, expecting 
an attack to recover the cattle. " The poor, deluded 
tenants ! " said a lady ; " it is necessary to seize their cows 
to give them an opportunity to pay their rents with 
safety." Such are some of the excitements of life on a 
" Plan of Campaign " estate ; they recalled the border 
warfare of the days of "Marmion " and the "Lady of the 

A few weeks later and a great meeting of Galtee 
farmers, with blackthorns in their hands, refused to be 
dispersed by the police, drove them to the barracks, and 
left two young men dying in the streets. Gladstone 
wrote the telegram : " Remember Mitchelstown ! " and 
William O'Brien, in a fortified farmer's house, entered by 
a ladder, pointed his own moral of that famous aphorism : 
" I say, God bless you and guard you, and more power to 
your strong arms. . . . Before that watchword the 
walls of Dublin Castle and the walls of Mitchelstown 
Castle will go down and crumble in the dust." ! 

A few more months and the Land Commissioners 
granted a general reduction of twenty-two per cent, on 
the rents of the Mitchelstown tenants under judicial 
leases fixed in 1881 and 1882 ; and, on the tenants still 
holding out, their demands were finally acceded to ; 
evicted tenants were reinstated, and the proprietors an- 
nounced their intention to offer the estate for sale. This 
is the final consummation, so long delayed, of " the ruin 
1 September 24, 1887. 


of that noble house, the wreck of that princely fortune, 
once the boast of Southern Ireland." ' These landlords 
were not rack-renters, they were not absentees, they made 
the town of Mitchelstown beautiful, and their own estate 
they were perpetually improving ; they built almshouses 
and a church, and a town-hall, and yet they are driven 
from the country with execrations. 


A handsome sunburnt, athletic man appeared one day 
at luncheon. The owner of an estate of some five 
thousand acres, he has but few tenants and is trying to 
farm most of it himself. It is a dairy district, and the 
profits seem to be reasonably remunerative. " Take," he 
said, " a farm of twenty acres. That will support at a 
low valuation eight cows (wet and dry, i. e. f winter and 
summer) on hay and grass. Those cows ought to pro- 
duce three firkins of butter each, three and a half would 
be usual. That is worth, at $os. t ios. less than has been 
refused by some of my tenants this year — £j 10s. If you 
allow a calf to each cow, the farmer would make a fur- 
ther sum at present prices of £3 each. Two pigs at 
least can be kept for each cow, selling for 30^. each, after 
being fed on buttermilk and potatoes. The gross re- 
ceipts would then be ^£108. In addition to this there 
would be potatoes grown for family use and a little oats 
for straw to make manure, which I don't charge for. 
The rent of the farm would probably be, with the pres- 
ent reduction, ^20, a pound an acre. The taxes would 
be half the rates at is. in the pound, or £2. So the net 
income of the farmer would be about ^85 or £S6. 

" The farmers spend too much money on funerals, 

1 A. M. Sullivan : " New Ireland," Chap. XII. 


fairs, meetings, drink, and shop goods. Much harm is 
also caused by their peculiar marriage customs. If my 
son were to marry a daughter of yours, for instance, I 
should have to give my son a farm, twenty acres and ten 
cows, perhaps, and you would give with your daughter 
an equivalent in money — ,£200. But that money, in- 
stead of going into the bride's pocket or her husband's, 
goes to me as the father-in-law. The father gets the mar- 
riage portion of the girl. In seven years hence, when 
the son is probably the father of seven children, they are 
all dependent on the farm and ten cows, and the rent has 
to be met all the same. The result is too often bank- 
ruptcy without any fault on the part of the landlord. 

" Then the priest tax is heavy. It is not unusual to 
hear the farmer saying after a priest has left the parish ; 
1 He was a devil of a fellow, and knocked the heart out 
of us.' They get about ten per cent, of the girl's mar- 
riage portion, and are paid large fees at christenings and 
funerals. ' That was a great funeral,' said a farmer to 
me one day, ' four priests at £$ a head.' All the ten- 
ants on an estate are apt to be related to one another. 
The priests encourage their parishioners to marry among 
themselves, for they get a percentage on both fortunes. 

" I have given reductions in the last three years, even 
on judicial rents, whenever it seemed necessary. There 
is no mistake about it, some of the judicial rents are too 
high. I have seen the rents upheld on farms where the 
tenant was thriving with hard labor on poor land, and 
reduced on farms where the tenant was improvident on 
better land. Some of the land was valued in June and 
some in December, but it is impossible to judge the value 
of land in winter. That was the case with my property. 
Land should be valued in summer when the crops are 


growing. The result has been great inequality in the 
fairness of judicial rents. 

" Eviction, of course, is sometimes necessary. I ex- 
plain my reasons as clearly as possible to my tenants. 
* If I let this man have his land for nothing, I tell them, 
' I can't make you pay.' The dangerous man to evict is 
the man who has nothing ; the man who has money does 
not care to risk his neck. It is bad policy to turn out 
the poor. 

" The national movement is led by a body of very 
clever men, but they have countenanced outrages be- 
cause their object is to make things so uncomfortable for 
us that we must either join in or be crushed. When the 
tenants are made proprietors, the owners of the large es- 
tates will have to leave the country, but men like myself 
will remain. I am half farmer, half landlord, and suc- 
ceeding, so I cannot be hurt much." 


For miles in every direction the land is the Duke's. 
The beautiful castle that overpeers the Blackwater is va- 
cant, but the evils of absenteeism are averted by a wise 
and almost princely generosity. The railroad from Fer- 
moy to Lismore was built by the Duke, and he gave to 
the people the long, graceful Lismore bridge. 

With one thoroughly familiar with the estate I spent a 

day in driving over it. " John D lives there," he 

said. " The rent is £26 2s. for two small holdings, and 
last Lady- day his arrears were ^178. We have had a 
decree against him for twelve months past. He has paid 
only one year's rent in six years, and that on threat of 
eviction. I visited him personally to induce him to join 
the landlord in having his arrears wiped off under the 


Arrears Act, and he promised, but did not. A national- 
ist guardian said they were anxious to have an eviction 
on the Duke's property, and had a League hut all ready 
to put up for him. 

" Here 's a farm that belonged to Michael Flynn, who 
paid about ^340 for 352 acres in two farms. He paid 
punctually and made money, dying thirteen or fourteen 
years ago. His grandson inherited it and a good sum of 
money ; drank, gambled, soon ran up £600 arrears, and 
sold off his stock. As he was impoverishing the prop- 
erty, doing no good to any one, the Duke evicted him, 
let the arrears go, and gave him about^ioo to emigrate. 
For three years the farm was then worked from the 
office. Expensive improvements were made, laborers' 
cottages were built and fences. A steward was hired 
to work it. One year the old rent above expenses was 
cleared ; the next year ^102 was carried forward, and 
the third year there was no balance. Three years ago a 
woman took it in excellent condition for ^300. In three 
months she married Gallagher, and died with her first 
child. The first half-year's rent she paid, and he paid 
the second. He was given twenty per cent, reduction. 
Then he put up his stock at auction to avoid paying the 
third half-year's rent when it was long due. We had had 
a judgment against him for a long time, and distrained 
the morning of the auction. He paid then out of de- 
posit receipts amounting to over twice the rent, and the 
same day auctioned off all the stock, and has bought 
none since. The place is now ruined. The laborers' 
cottages have the windows broken and the doors off their 
hinges. The fences are down ; he has ploughed up 
three fields without sowing any seed in them. He is a 
tough customer." 


I spoke to a laborer in one of the fields. 

" The place is in a worse state now," he said, " than 
when young Flynn left it." 

" On the Duke's property," continued my companion, 
"the buildings and drainage are fully half paid for by the 
landlord. There has not, however, been much reclama- 
tion of land in Tipperary and the south — none worth 
speaking of since the famine." 

We passed a Land League hut thirty feet by fourteen, 
with two rooms and one window, built of corrugated iron 
sheathing lined partly with wood. Here lives vigorous, 

voluble, aged Mrs. M and her decrepit husband. 

" I had those 315 acres," she said. " The valuation was 
^272 io.r. I sunk ^1,400 my father left me in the farm, 
and was evicted for ^500, though there was not a year's 
rent due. Six illegitimate daughters own it, and evicted 
me on July 1st, when there were a hundred acres of corn 
on it. 

" I have nine children, one in Scotland, one in France, 
three in America. They support me, for I can't do any 
thing for myself. 

" We stay here near the farm in the hope of getting it 
again, and we shall stay here till we do. One of my sons 
will buy it for us at a fair valuation. 

" The Duke's agent is our best friend and has helped 

I rejoined my kind host and companion, who, as we 
drove on, spoke frankly from his practical experience of 
many years. 

" There 's a farm on the estate that has a characteristic 
history. It was let to the widow Fenton for ^13 a year. 
The rent was reduced to £\\ 10s. j and the valuation 
was £11. She sold her tenant-right to Willoughby of 


Wicklow for ^125. The interest on this sum practically 
raised the new tenant's rent to £16 10s. The neighbors 
threatened him, and he forfeited his instalment of the 
purchase money and went away. The farm was put up 
again and was bought by Mrs. Brien, a widow, for £1 10. 
She lived there for a while, but was threatened ; and af- 
ter being annoyed persistently by ghosts, she sold it to a 
neighbor for £9$. There were other changes, but it 
finally passed into the hands of a neighbor, who probably 
had had his eye on it all along. Every farm could be 
sold, if free sale were really allowed by the people them- 
selves ; but Parnell makes a great point of boycotting 
free sale, ^nan acre could be got for almost any farm 
after the passing of the Act of 1881. 

"As to land purchase, I think things will come to such 
a pass between landlords and tenants that if the land- 
lords can get passably fair terms, or even any terms not 
amounting to absolute confiscation, it may be for their 
benefit ; but even then it may not be for the good of the 
country. The loss of the landlord's expenditure may be 
a serious blow. In congested districts such a transfer of 
property would only perpetuate poverty. 

" The Nationalists have set themselves to bring about 
the extermination of the landlords and the sale of the 
land for its prairie value ; that is, on confiscation terms. 
With this view they hindered the success of Lord Ash- 
bourne's Act ; otherwise many would have purchased 
who would have been worthy proprietors. The induce- 
ments were great, for by paying twenty or thirty per cent, 
less than his present rent, a man could own the land in 
forty-nine years. There has, however, been dangled be- 
fore the farmers the notion that in time they will get the 
land for nothing. Now no good can be done by making 


an insolvent tenant a proprietor against his will. A bad 
or thriftless tenant is apt to make a bad or thriftless 
owner. The ownership of land should be the reward of 
a man's own industry. Land purchase is unquestionably 
no remedy for the distressed districts and a very doubt- 
ful benefit for the others. A large addition to the num- 
ber of proprietors would certainly be a great advantage, 
but it ought not to be indiscriminate. 

" It is rather a strong argument against Home Rule, or 
even any extension of local self-government, that the 
Nationalists don't use well half the time what power they 

" The Union is run by the Nationalists, and is 

not very efficient. One division has mortgaged itself as 
far as it can for erecting laborers' cottages, and the object 
in most cases is merely to spite the landlord or to annoy 
a farmer who is not a member of the League. One of 
the last votes, overruled by the Local Government Board, 
was to put three cottages, taking up an acre and a half, 
on the plot of land belonging to the bailiff, who has only 
four acres altogether, and those within the town limits, 
though the object of the act was to prevent the influx of 
laborers into the towns. 

" The Duke always used to give seventy-five per cent, 
of the cost of building laborers' cottages, though the rule 
was generally here to contribute only half towards other 
improvements. The farmers could hardly be induced 
to put up cottages or any thing they did not need for 

" The Unions also get into debt to the banks, because 
they insist on keeping the rates too low to meet their 
liabilities. They say the people cannot pay the neces- 
sary rates ; but it seems to me that if you incur a debt 


you should pay it. They are also very lax in the matter 
of out-door relief. They say : ' Oh, he 's very poor, and 
if he comes into the house it will cost more than to give 
him a small sum and keep him out.' The fact is, that 
coming into the house acts as a test of a man's poverty ; 
no one would object to taking public money and living 
as he is accustomed to live. The pittances, too, are often 
so small as not to keep a worthy but proud person from 

" I should, however, favor a very liberal scheme of 
local self-government. It is a substantial grievance that 
we cannot establish railroads without the expense of a 
journey to London and a hearing before a parliamentary 
committee, though the Nationalists make no outcry 
about this. The Board of Trade can give temporary 
orders, under a recent act for the establishment of tram- 
ways, etc. This power should be enlarged to cover 

" The grand-jury system should be made representa- 

" The preservation of the Union is, however, essential 
to the prosperity of England and Ireland ; and it is 
essential to the preservation of the Union that the im- 
perial government should have the appointment and 
control of the magistrates, the judges, and the police ; in 
a word, of the executive of the country. The brutality 
of the people is greater than that of any other civilized 
people, for here only is public sympathy given to crimi- 
nals. On the Sunday morning here, when the news 
came that Carey had given information about the Phoenix 
Park murderers, each man's face was as black as a 
thunder-cloud, as though a great public calamity had 
happened ; and when it was moved in the Board of 


Guardians to adjourn out of sympathy with the Duke's 

bereavement, Mr. , a Nationalist, spoke against it, 

saying that the Duke had not shown any sympathy for 
him when he was arrested as a suspect, and he did not 
see why he should show any sympathy for the Duke for 
the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish. 

" My belief is so strong in the tenacity and back-bone 
of the North that I am convinced of their power, in the 
event of Home Rule, to hold their own, if not to conquer 
the rest of the island." 

" I can see nothing that can come from Home Rule," 
interrupted a friend, " but utter fiscal smash and a row. 
Behind the farmers are a vast army of laborers and loaf- 
ers, who outnumber the farmers, and the probability is 
that they will agitate against the farmers when the latter 
become proprietors, as the farmers have done against 
their landlords, for land which they will be very loath to 
give them." 

" On this estate for the present," continued the other, 
" all is quiet. There has been no combination against 
rent, but there is great carelessness and indifference as 
to whether they pay or not, and an absence of the exer- 
tion to work they made in former years. Within a year, 

however, the agent met X. Y., of B , near the bank. 

' I have n't been to the office,' he said, ' because they are 
dogging me to see if I do go ; but I have paid the rent 
to to pay you.' " 

Ten or twelve fields I passed of fair land, but yellow 
with weeds. " Premiums were offered," I was told, on 
making some comment, " for autumn cleaning of the 
fields ; but only two or three farmers could be induced 
to do so ; though the horses are idle in the autumn, and 
though in spring there is no time for cleaning before the 


early crops are planted. It is also impossible to make 
the farmers get their crops in early enough. When it 's 
fair, they think it will stay fair forever ; and when it 
rains, they think the rain will never stop." 


The farm-house was a comfortable two-story building, 
and the dining-room in which we sat was neat and well 
furnished. The farmer spoke slowly and impressively 
between long puffs at his short pipe. " I own a hundred 
and four acres," he said. " The poor-law valuation is 
^126, and the rent is ^132, less twenty-five per cent. 

" Twenty-four acres are in oats, six in turnips, four or 
five in potatoes, and the rest chiefly grass. The oats are 
very light this year, and so short that they are hard to 
cut with a machine. The turnips are a total failure ; the 
potatoes very bad ; the mangels not half a crop ; and 
the hay rather over half. I keep sixteen or seventeen 
dairy cows, three horses, and occasionally sheep. 

" I used to buy cattle and exchange them after feed- 
ing, but cannot this year. Sheep used to pay fairly, but 
I cannot venture on them this year ; the grass is so short, 
and hand-feeding so expensive. I used to make a good 
profit on calves in the spring, but cannot this year on ac- 
count of the poor crops of turnips and oats. I send my 
milk to the creamery at Tallow, getting back the butter- 
milk, and payment according to the prices in the English 
market. Last year I made about ^"5 a cow for the but- 
ter, gross receipts. Now there seems to be no feeding 
quality in the grass, and I don't see how to carry my 
cows through the winter. 

" I keep careful accounts of income and expenses. I 
have two servants whom I pay £\o in cash and board. 


I work with three hands generally. By the year I pay a 
laborer jQi$ and perquisites, coals, potatoes, etc., and 
board. Extra labor during harvest, etc., probably comes 
to £i$ more. Before the last two years, I used to spend a 
good deal of money in fencing, ditching, and other improve- 
ments. This year I put out about £2 an acre of potatoes 
and turnips for artificial manure. Seed corn we usually 
grow ourselves, but other seed costs me £$ a year, or 
about 10s. an acre. The county cess and poor-rates 
come to about ,£15 a year, and the priest tax is some 
£$ or £6. I have five children, and I and my wife live 
very economically. I come straight home from fairs, 
and am very slow in changing a pound. If the times 
were good, people could make a living as they used to ; 
but this year I am sure I shall lose something very large. 
Fifty per cent, reduction would not be sufficient to carry 
me through. Twenty per cent, is the average given here. 
The Duke is also very good in allowing for improvements 
and for losses of cattle. I should like to live off the 
land as an industrious working man wishing to improve 
his farm. I don't understand Home Rule or Land Pur- 
chase well enough to give an opinion, but I should think 
that if they came about we would be in a better position 
for improving our land. What is ruining the country 
now is the absence of capital." 


A farmer, who is to some degree employed by a land- 
lord, but who seemed more than usually honest and ca- 
pable, I beguiled one morning into saying what he 
thought about peasant proprietorship. The amount of 
land needed to support a family in comfort seemed an 
inquiry worth making. 


" You need," he said, " fifty or sixty acres about here 
to get a comfortable living out of the land, about a hun- 
dred English acres ; but even with that one would be 
worse off without capital than with capital and less land. 
Ten pounds an acre is needed for good farming, or at 
least ^5. 

" The opinions of the neighboring farmers I know 
well. What they want is to get their land cheap, if pos- 
sible for next to nothing. They don't want any reason- 
able purchase scheme, for, as a tenant farmer told me, 
whom I urged to buy under Lord Ashbourne's Act, as he 
had plenty of money — ' I would have been delighted to 
buy the place at higher terms twenty years ago, but now 
we hope to get it for much less by waiting. Besides, it 
would be like paying the rates — we would have to pay; 
and if we got behind, the government would make no 

allowance, as Mr. would.' Yes, they would always 

prefer a good landlord to the government for their cred- 
itor. The real trouble in the past has been that so many 
landlords were not accessible. 

" In a few months after peasant proprietorship has 
become established, I am afraid the farmers will be 
shooting each other, and in six months they will be in 
the hands of the Jews. In the struggle for land they 
would buy from one another at enormous prices, and 
would borrow the money at very high rates. Of late 
years there has been more shooting of tenant farmers 
than of landlords. If they want a piece of land and 
cannot get it, they will coerce the owner to sell at their 
own terms, by force if necessary. Despotism, tempered 
by assassination, will be the result in no little time of 
peasant proprietorship." 

Another farmer, an old man of Scotch birth, was talk- 


ing one evening to me and a journalist. " There were 
two farms held by two brothers," the journalist was say- 
ing, " on Lord Bantry's property, at C , on the shores 

of Bantry Bay, a wild, mountainous region. Their name 
was Harrington, or Sullivan, I forget which. The rental 
was originally about -Q27. One brother improved and 
spent a lot of money in fencing and draining, and his 
rent was raised gradually to ^40. The other brother 
made no improvements ; and when asked a short time 
ago why he did not follow his brother's example, ' Shure, 
I shall be fined if I improve/ said he. ' Pat pays ^40, 
but I am still paying only £27.' " 

" It was much the same thing in Scotland," interrupted 
the farmer. " I have seen the farmers there slowly work- 
ing up the side of a mountain. So soon as one bit was 
cultivated, the rent would be raised, until they were 
driven up to the very top. 

" The Purchase Acts are much talked of, but to my 
knowledge tenants have been forced to purchase at ex- 
orbitant prices, just as they used to be forced to take 
leases. On the Marquis of Waterford's property, near 
Carrick on Suir, in this county, the tenants have been 
forced to buy at twenty years' purchase. Most of them 
were in arrears and were writted, and then, three months 
ago, they were given the alternative of purchasing. What 
have those men to fall back on ? The average rent was 
2,os. an acre, but I don't believe much of the land was 
worth ioj. The rest of the tenants have joined the Plan 
of Campaign ; and perhaps the others may be able to 
break their agreements. 

" Free-trade in breadstuffs is what has ruined the 

" Cattle have gone down fifty per cent. What is the 


good of landlords offering reductions of ten or twenty 
per cent. ? The country is all burnt up this year, and 
what are we to do ? " 

One afternoon, while driving, I stopped and entered 
the tiny house, or rather hut, of a farmer near Cahir. 
He told me he had eleven acres ; one acre and a half in 
potatoes, another acre and a half in oats, three in hay, 
and he keeps two cows. He has made no profit on milk 
this year, because of the drought. Oats are not bad, but 
the price is very low. The rent is ^11 18s., and was 
settled by agreement out of court some five years ago, 
and no reduction has been made since then. " We have 
neglected the shopkeepers to pay our rent. We have 
five children, " said he ; and his wife added, from a dingy 
corner : " My husband lost four years out of his health, 
and I had to sell the horse at Clonmell fair for ^20, and 
we have gone without a horse ever since." 

By the roadside one day I noticed a little wooden box 
of a house, like a toy house. It was one of the laborers' 
cottages, built under the recent act. There were two 
rooms below, and a trap-door leading to a garret by a 
ladder. The laborer's wife was in. She had her seven 
young children with her, and said her husband got usu- 
ally one shilling a day, sometimes as little as four shil- 
lings a week, and sometimes as much as eight shillings. 

When I asked the car-driver about laborers' wages, he 
said : " Ordinary laborers get usually 6s. or 8s. a week ; 
and last year, for the two weeks' season of potato digging 
they got 2s. 6d. a day. A ploughman gets from ^12 to 
,£13 a year." 


" The Plan of Campaign," he said, " is a widespread 
scheme to ruin the landlords as a class. In the case of a 


good but weak landlord, or one who is encumbered, or 
averse to a row, the leaders have no mercy on him. 
Even at this late day the landlords and tenants would 
come to terms if they were allowed to fight the question 
out without the interference of third parties ; but, as 
a rule, pressure is brought to bear by the tenant organi- 
zations on the tenants, or in special cases on the land- 
lord by a landlord association, as by the Cork Defence 
Union at Youghal. Landlord and tenant are like two 
boys fighting, both wanting to run away but neither 
daring to. Whenever the tenants show a disposition to 
give way, a big meeting is called, and swells come from 
Dublin to start the excitement again. A few days ago 
Lady Kingston made some seizures, and a few tenants 
paid their rent. Instantly a big meeting was held, and 
down came William O'Brien by express. Condon, M. P., 
is kept there all the time, watching the estate as a cat 
does a mouse. 

" There is great intimidation practised on any one who 
is lukewarm in joining the League. A popular form of 
punishment is for the Union to put a laborer's cottage 

on a man's farm. On property cottages were 

erected on the holdings of many tenants for which there 
was no other possible reason. As a rule the larger 
farmers should be selected ; here they picked out only 
small farmers. 

" I have had a few cases, but not many, of payment in 
secret. The tenants go much together, and are loath to 
act independently. One tenant, after paying me, came 
back and asked me, when the ejectment cases came on 
in court, to have his name called with the rest, and so I 

"There is' a property belonging to an estate in chan- 


eery of which I have charge. A tenant was paying ^300 
a year for a farm there on which he had nothing but a 
herd's hut, as he lived on another farm forty miles off. 
I evicted him for non-payment of rent, and there was no 
sympathy for him, as he was very litigious ; but the farm 
is boycotted to this day, and the grass withering on it. 
I made two attempts to sell it at auction, and two to sell 
at private sale. No one will bid, though hay is scarce. 
One or two offers were made privately, but withdrawn. 
We have lost over ^800 by this transaction, and without 
the slightest fault on our part. 

" As a large landowner in Somersetshire said to me, ' I 
suppose, if I were to call my tenants together, and ask 
them if it was their wish I should continue to own the 
land, they would vote no, and would vote to divide it 
among themselves.' That would be the condition of the 
Irish landlords before a Home-Rule Parliament. Life 
and property would be insecure under Home Rule. They 
might succeed here in time, but there would be chaos 
meanwhile. The land question is blocking the way of 
Home Rule. 

" Land purchase on any large scale is impossible with- 
out an imperial guaranty. The grand jury, of which I 
am a member, recently voted to guarantee the interest, 
at four per cent., on a few thousand pounds to build a 
light railroad, the government making some contribution. 
We cannot raise a single pound now, and many of the 
counties are probably in a similar fix. Much less would 
any land bonds be taken without an imperial guaranty. 

" Another difficulty in the working of a local board to 
purchase through is the want of courage and public 
support to enable it to evict, if necessary, in order to 
secure payment. 


" The various Land Acts would have succeeded in 
pacifying the farmers, if they had been given an honest 
trial, but that the League prevented. No evictions would 
have happened if the League had allowed free sale of the 
tenant right. Not sticking to that one clause of free sale 
has been the end of every thing. The League wants to 
keep up evictions. Meanwhile, the land is occupied by 
vagabonds, who are exhausting it, as well as paying no 

" Finally, I am in favor of greater local self-govern- 
ment. The associated cess payers on the grand jury 
should be made elective. Otherwise the grand-jury sys- 
tem is a great anomaly." 


Early in the morning the magistrate called for me to 
drive with him sixteen Irish miles to petty sessions at 
Mullamahone. He himself is the ideal of a country 
magistrate — a bluff, hearty, earnest, sensible gentleman, of 
an old Norman family that has lived in Ireland for over 
five hundred years ; intensely honorable, hating nothing 
more than deceit or falsehood. 

A broad valley stretched on each side of the road, and 
in the distance towered the gloomy masses of Slieve- 
naman. The farms we passed seemed but poorly cul- 
tivated, but here and there a steam reaping-machine 
puffing by the roadside showed that modern methods 
were being slowly introduced. These machines are gen- 
erally used in Tipperary, and are hired out by the richer 
farmers to their neighbors at \os. a day. 

The country was full of reminiscences to my compan- 
ion. "We drove over a hundred head of cattle once 
from that field into Clonmell." " In that field, three or 


four years ago, we seized twenty milch cows." And he 
explained : " It used to be a part of our duty to be pres- 
ent, when required, at distraints for rent, but is so no 

Soon we were changing horses in the decayed little 
town of Fethard, where, in one short street, I counted 
fifteen ruined cottages. 

Passing out of Fethard, we saw a large, apparently de- 
serted farm. " One Meagher used to live there as tenant 
of some four hundred acres. Six years ago he was 
evicted with great violence. A number of neighbors 
joined him in resisting the officers, and eighteen out of 
twenty-three were convicted. For some time the farm 
lay vacant, then a stranger took it who was boycotted so 
severely that he had to go, and now it is leased for a 
nominal sum to the Land Corporation." 

Mullamahone is a poor little village with two long 
streets, famous, if at all, for being the scene of a rising in 
1848. The court-room was in the upper story of a 
rickety barn-like building. Three magistrates were on 
the bench. The cases were chiefly liquor cases and un- 
important. Two men were on trial for drunkenness, and 
an excuse was pleaded that startled the court : that in 
the spring there had been a terrible outbreak of conta- 
gious fever, and so frightened were the people that no one 
could be found for a long time to bury one poor girl who 
died of it. These men volunteered, after first making 
themselves drunk from fear of the infection, and then 
left the coffin lying for several hours at the church-door. 
" Discharged." Another case I noticed was of malicious 
cutting of a tree by a tenant with a hand-saw. " My 
grandfather planted those trees," said the tenant, while 
the bailiff, an old man, swore that the trees were orna- 


mental ash trees along the road. " Four shillings com- 
pensation, \os. fine, and $s. costs, or seven days," was 
the order of the court. 

As we drove back : " In South Tipperary," said he, 
" intemperance has decidedly decreased. The fines have 
diminished seventy-five per cent, in a few years. In 
Clogheen there is usually but one ' drunk ' where there 
used to be thirty, and at the last session at Cahir there 
was not one. This reform is due to the efforts of indi- 
vidual priesrs." 

One landlord in the neighborhood I heard everywhere 
spoken of with great enthusiasm, Lord Lismore. " He 's 
a man," cried the driver, " who can walk from one end of 
Ireland to the other without a stick." " He has made 
enormous reductions," said the magistrate, " but the ten- 
ants are most ungrateful, and are not paying him a cent. 
He did every thing to improve the horn-stock and pigs in 
the neighborhood. Indeed, the excellence of the breed 
of pigs throughout the south of Ireland is due to him." 

" Four years ago, for about eighteen months, there was 
great disturbance on Lord Lismore's property for some 
eighteen months, and we had to bring the cavalry out day 
and night to encourage the well-affected. Cogherty's 
house here was set fire to twice, four years ago, and two 
other tenants of Lord Lismore have had their houses 
fired, all good rent-payers. 

" Irish officials are accused of every crime, but they do 
their duty according to their lights, usually according to 

" The government is blamed for not having tried to 
settle the land question sooner ; but what really held 
back the land question was the question of disestablish- 
ment of the Irish Church, a great anomaly. Now matters 


are come to such a pass that peasant proprietorship is 
inevitable. Gladstone created the dual ownership : that 
is on all sides held to be impracticable, and the only way 
to get out of it is to deprive one dual owner of his prop- 
erty. The landlord is asked to go to the wall : the gov- 
ernment has taken half his property, and now is going to 
take the other half. 

" The landlords are reviled now, but they have gener- 
ally been kind and even generous. Lady Margaret 
Charteris spent ^3,000 in building an aqueduct for the 
town of Cahir. Lord Sligo did the same at Westport. 
It was a rule of Lord Sligo's that whatever the people 
subscribed towards a public improvement he would 
double. Most Irish landlords always gave the land for 
chapels free, and sometimes for convents. Railroads 
here are very expensive, partly from the great wear and 
tear of the cattle traffic, and to them the landlords have 
subscribed largely out of public spirit. Many thousand 
pounds have been spent in this way by my own relations, 
and the Duke of Devonshire gave over ^"100,000 towards 
building the Lismore and Fermoy R. R. 

*' In Ireland the people never combine voluntarily to 
make any public improvement ; they are always afraid of 
some getting more good from it than the rest. 

" Old Lord Waterpark had a hobby for improving his 
property, and sank an enormous amount of money in it. 
This is not taken into account now, and though the 
father lived in the most economical way for years to save 
the property, his son is now almost bankrupt. 

" Many cases even of apparently cruel rent-raising are 
probably not as they seem to be. On Lord Sligo's estate, 
during the famine year, a large farm was given up in a 
very impoverished condition. The rent had been ,£8o. 


He let it to a tenant on condition that he should pay is. 
the first year, ^"40 the second year, £60 the third year, 
and after that the full rental. The parish priest brought 
the tenant before the Bessborough Commission, and re- 
mained in the room while he swore his rent had been 
raised four times in seven years. 

" All good feeling between landlord and tenant has 
now been swept away, and it will never recover. 

" The parish priest here is a brother of one tenant and 
the uncle of another, and so with most of the clergy ; and 
they are all tenants themselves, so you cannot expect 
them to oppose the people in this movement. 

" The Irish are not independent by nature : the land- 
lords were the masters, and they usually used to keep a 
tenant going in an irregular, unbusiness-like way, and he 
in return used to give at least one vote to his landlord. 
Then the priests struggled with the landlords for the vote 
and got it, becoming the masters in their turn. Now the 
priests have been succeeded by the agitators, who are the 
hardest and most exacting masters of all, and the most 
expensive, but the League dues are now being objected 
to, and the agitation would cease but for American 

"You don't fear persecution under Home Rule?" I 
asked. " That depends on what you mean by persecution," 
he replied. " We never get justice in any lawsuit as it 
is, and even under the present government we never get 
any appointment except by competitive examination. 
What will become of us at the mercy of people so bigoted 
that the law cannot be enforced against a priest, and a 
woman in this town refused to sue the parish priest for 
her wages — ' If I do that,' said she, 'he '11 curse me and 
I '11 rot.' 


" What is needed is more industry. In Wexford, Car- 
low, and even here, eggs are sold in large numbers to 
eggers for the English market. If a better breed of 
fowls were kept, the profits would be enormously in- 
creased. Butter from the Cahir creamery sold for is. 
2d. a pound in Manchester during May, instead of 6d., 
which is all the farmers usually get. These creameries 
might be indefinitely increased, and profitably to all con- 
cerned, for we pay nearly seven per cent, interest." 


For some days my host was one of the most genial, 
witty, and popular of Irish landlords. He is a learned 
man, a student and writer ; he has sat in Parliament, as 
did his father before him ; he is a conscientious magis- 
trate ; he is perpetually improving his large property. His 
house is like the ideal English country-house, with a 
broad lawn sloping gradually towards the banks of the 
loveliest of Irish rivers. Pictures by old masters and 
family portaits lean from the walls. The library is 
crammed with old and rare books. His active, clever 
wife teaches the tenants' daughters to work embroidery, 
designs the patterns, and gets the work, when finished, 
sold. To the younger children she offers prizes for 
flowers and collections of every sort, and her influence 
for good was proved by the happy faces of the neatly 
dressed children who gathered round the long tables in 
the garden at the annual flower show. The shadow of im- 
pending fate rests lightly here, but it is not absent. 

" Shall we have to leave our pleasant homes we love so 
well — this house, this garden ? We shall try to get the 
land near us into our own hands and farm it ourselves. 
Then we are told our friends and neighbors will be 


forced to go away, and soon we shall be left alone and 
be unable to live here in peace. I am glad that we our- 
selves are comparatively young. For the old, you have 
no idea how sad these changes are. My grandfather be- 
gan to build a beautiful house in a small country town. 
When my father took the property he had little money 
and spent all he had for years in finishing and furnishing 
the house. The rest of his life he has passed on the 
estate, devoting himself to improving the neighborhood. 
He built almshouses, and started an agricultural society 
to encourage a knowledge of scientific farming. When 
this agitation began the Land Leaguers tried to make 
trouble between him and his tenants ; they called him 
a tyrant and insulted him in the town council. Now the 
poor old man is quite heart-broken." 

One of the most beautiful and distinguished of Irish- 
women was the centre of a little group of courtiers on 
the afternoon of the flower show, speaking with charming 
animation. What are they saying ? 

" The people about here say I lost so much by that 
field, when they mean 'I laid out so much on it.'" 

u Lord V , when on the Land Commission, was so 

disgusted by the absurd demands of one farmer that he 
cried out, ' I want to know if you expect to be compen- 
sated for the damage done by Noah's flood.'" "Did 
you hear Morris' retort to Lady Aberdeen when she 
said, ' I supposed you were all Home Rulers here.' 
' There 's not one in the room, except your ladyship and 
maybe one or two of the waiters.' " " My mother found 
a cottage on the place where all the family and the calf 
lived in one room. She built them a second room, and 
in a few weeks found the calf in the new room and the 
rest huddled together in the other one as before." 

IN MUNSTER. 1 1 9 

"Home Rule is an absolute experiment, with an off 
chance of doing some good and a great probability of 
absolutely ruining every one." " Wellington said : ' Peo- 
ple good at making excuses are good for nothing else ! ' 
It is so with the Irish. With them it is always the gov- 
ernment, the weather, or the soil." " The farmers openly 
rejoice that Providence has again interfered to prevent 
them from paying their rents. They are glad it is a bad 

The last words I heard were spoken by a beautiful and 
distinguished lady, a true Irishwoman, of large posses- 
sions and high position. 

"Is it right," said she, "that we who have always been 
loyal to the government should be handed over to the 
tender mercies of these men ? They are Catholics, and 
no doubt many have preached to them what was said by 
a priest at Waterford : ' The portion of the landlords is 
dynamite in this world and hell fire in the next.' If 
Home Rule comes, we shall be driven from our homes 
like the Huguenots ; but we shall not go to England. We 
shall cherish till death an unrelenting hatred of England, 
a country that we once trusted and served, and that sac- 
rificed us." 

The many talks I had with my kind host and friend 
were so interesting that it may be well to group them in 
a single statement. 

" The Nationalists," he said one day, " often base the 
claims of the tenants on their descent from the origi- 
nal owners of the soil. There is no such historical con- 
tinuity. The greater part of the tenants on my estate 
(I have about three hundred) are not Tipperary men, 
but are descendants of families brought here by my 
ancestors from other parts of Ireland. Murphy, for 


instance, is a common name on my estate, and the Mur- 
phys all came from Wexford. That dairymaid is a 
Devereux, a Norman and a Wexford family. The ten- 
ants represent only to a limited extent the old state of 
affairs. The landlord's title is often far older than theirs. 
What they do represent is the religion of the past. It 
would be quite exceptional for the tenant to be the de- 
scendant of the original inhabitants of the land, and who 
the original inhabitants were in any barony or parish we 
know almost to a man. 

" This is the not uncommon, indeed is the typical, 
history of an Irish estate, especially of an estate in Tip- 
perary. About 1780, a year of great change in the south 
of Ireland, the land was growing out of a pastoral into an 
agricultural state, on account of the high price of wheat. 
A Tipperary landlord had a lot of grass land and found 
it would pay him to break up the pasture. He brought 
men from a distance and settled them on it. The land, 
we will say, paid \os. an acre as grazing land. A man 
offered 15^., and was accepted. He set to work, built a 
farm-house, made fences, grubbed up the furze-bushes, 
and, in rare cases, dug drains. Twenty years later, during 
the Peninsular war, prices rose greatly and the competi- 
tion for land was intense. A man could now pay 25.?. as 
easily as he could pay \os. in the earlier period. The 
landlord in the meantime had done nothing, but was 
neither grasping nor unkind. After a while this farm 
comes into the hands of a man who does n't want to 
work it for some reason, and is anxious to get out of it. 
He feels he cannot go out without any thing. He comes 
now to the landlord and says : ' Your Honor, I don't 
feel up to the work, and I would be greatly obliged to 
your Honor if you would let my sister's cousin take the 


land.' ' Willing to oblige you, Pat, you scoundrel/ re- 
plies his Honor, ' and what will your sister's cousin pay 
me ? ' ' Thirty shillings,' says Pat. The cousin comes 
in and under the rose gives Pat some money. With the 
rising prices the new tenant would be as well off as the 
original .tenant at 10^. And so on to the famine time. 

"In this way 'tenant right' sprang up. It implies 
that the landlord made no outlay, and the custom be- 
came gradually acknowledged as a just one. On certain 
estates that sort of thing was put down as much as pos- 
sible, for the landlord could always bring in a stranger, 
but the people lived in a comfortable way together, and 
where there was any relationship between the outgoing 
and the incoming tenant the custom existed. It was 
spreading, as every one who knows will admit, before 

" The real reason for the over-renting was the immense 
competition. It was made a frightful grievance if you 
did not over-rent and give the land to the highest bidder. 

" This state of things made the people false as well as 
poor. The Celt is naturally imaginative, but he got into 
the habit of promising every thing in the world to get 
possession of the land, and it was very difficult to get 
him out when once in. 

" My estate is a fair example of an Irish property. We 
have never altered our rents ; they are the old customary 
rents, and the tenants have always been allowed to sell 
their interests. Before 1870 from five to ten years' pur- 
chase was commonly paid by the new tenant for the good- 
will, and a much larger amount for a small farm, because 
there is greater competition for small farms and less 
money is required to work them." 

A returned Australian whom I met accidentally had 


complained bitterly of my host as a tyrant who had de- 
stroyed a flourishing village at the demesne gate. One 
day at dinner I mentioned the story. " There was once," 
said he, " a large distillery here, which created around it 
a little village of operatives. The property had been let 
to the distillers in the last century under a hundred years' 
lease. The small tenants used to pay a head rent to me, 
but they were only laborers in the distillery. Thirty 
years ago the distillery was removed to Dublin, and ten 
years ago the lease fell in. By that time, out of the two 
thousand people all but two hundred had disappeared, 
and those who remained were simply paupers with pig- 
sties, unable to pay any rent to any one, and doing 
nothing when I got rid of them If you can find any in- 
justice there I am willing to argue the question. 

" In the last few years I have evicted only one man. 
The tenant of a farm near my house had his rent fixed 
by the court in 1881 at^ii2 and his tenant right at ^650. 
Last spring he owed a year's rent. On Lady-day he said: 
' Forgive me the year's rent ; pay me ^650, and I will go 
out.' I was advised that it would not be safe for me to 
take up the farm without an eviction, for the tenant right 
might be still liable for the man's debts. Then I went 
through the form of an eviction. He removed most of 
his goods and furniture himself, and helped the officer to 
turn out the rest. I bought all the produce on the land, 
hay, and manure, for ;£ 100, my steward's valuation. If he 
had sold his interest I don't believe it would have fetched 
^400, and out of that I should have had a claim for 
;£ii2. And yet the League denounced this proceeding 
and called me a tyrant. 

"The only reason why the present national movement 
has greater success than the old movements, is that now 


the leaders are working the agrarian question. O'Con- 
nell dared not do so, and Fenianism failed because it did 
not. It was, however, boldly taken up by Parnell in 1878, 
and he has admitted that he would never have ' taken off 
his coat ' for the tenants except as a means to an end." 

" The continuance of the stream of Nationalism in Ire- 
land is due to Romanism simply. The people remain as 
a body Catholics ; and Catholics never can be loyal to a 
Protestant government. Romanism is an imperium in im- 
perio. The spirit of Nationalism has died out in Scot- 
land, because Scotland is Protestant ; and its religion 
was the chief cause of Russia's difficulty in assimilating 
Poland. If Ireland had a peasant proprietary it would 
be quieter, but not loyal. Ireland will never be loyal in 
the sense in which England is loyal. 

" Mill says the difficulty is that Ireland is big enough 
to wish for nationality, but not big enough to be a 
nation. Such special attachment to Ireland is not in 
itself a bad thing, and it would never have caused 
serious difficulty if it had not been accentuated by the 
desire to rob. 

" I believe that if the land question were settled, the 
local sentiment would be satisfied by a very moderate 
scheme of Home Rule. Farmers have said to me hun- 
dreds of times : ' What do we care for Home Rule ? 
What we want is to get land for the value'; by which 
expression they mean 'for a very small rent.' Local 
feeling may be satisfied by a great many things, however, 
but national feeling can be satisfied only by indepen- 
dence. It might be willing to have the same queen as 
England, but it would never admit of the slightest exer- 
cise of power in Ireland by the imperial Parliament. 
The national sentiment, however, may be reduced to so 


small a factor that it may be disregarded, and that I 
think is both possible and practicable. 

" Before the famine Ireland gained by protection, by a 
high duty on corn ; for Ireland produced more than she 
consumed, while England consumed more than she pro- 
duced. The people now want protection, which means 
bread dearer for Irishmen and not a whit dearer for 
any one else. As for a duty on manufactures that is 
unnecessary, for the chief market for Blarney tweeds is 
America in spite of a duty of sixty per cent. What an 
Irishman sees is that under protection forty years ago 
he got a bounty ; but what he does not see is that now 
protection would simply make him eat his own guts. 
What the people apparently want is to have a separate 
Ireland and to have the advantage of protection through- 
out Great Britain as well. 

" Three quarters of Ireland is much more like Eng- 
land than it is like Connaught. The specially bad part 
is about an eighth of the country, the western fringe of 
it. In my mind's eye the western fringe is brown, rock 
and heather. Then there is another eighth a little less 

" Irish land is more valuable than is often supposed. 
It is unjust to compare an Irish farm with particular 
farms in England that are now vacant. It is the heavy 
wheat lands in the east of England which will produce 
nothing but wheat, and are expensive to cultivate, usu- 
ally chalk lands, that don't pay now. Their history is 
curious. They used to be sheep lands, and then when 
the price of wheat was high at the time of the French 
wars they were cultivated and paid well as long as wheat 
was high, now you cannot get back the good fine grass 
which was the product of centuries. 


" Prime grass lands in Ireland fetch now almost as 
much as ever. I let much of my land on grazing leases 
for nearly £^ an acre. There is a great future for grass 
land. Prime cattle will always pay. The present depres- 
sion in the meat market is only temporary. It is not the 
foreign competition that is the cause of the depression, 
for the consumption in England is so enormous that the 
foreign importation bears but a small proportion to the 
whole. The trouble is that times are bad, and the people 
are out of employment and cannot afford meat. For 
the same reason the inferior parts of the meat are not 
brought to market, and so the profit is further lessened. 
The people who would eat the worse parts cannot afford 
to eat any. American meat does not compete with fine 
domestic joints, but only with the inferior. Meat will 
always pay, but it must be made the chief thing, and 
other business abandoned. For instance, every bit of 
grain I grow 1 consume. I give oats to the horses, 
barley to the cattle, and if I grew wheat I would give 
that also to the cattle. Irish graziers have not con- 
ducted their business wisely. The Irish farmer never 
fattens a beast, but sells it when it is only a year or 
two old. Just as he ceases to be a burden on the 
land, he is sold, and is fattened in England. The result 
has been a progressive deterioration of the grass land. 
It needs to be restored by top dressing, or by feeding on 
imported food such as oil cake. With wise management 
the land will soon improve. 

" The just price for good land under any compulsory 
bill should be about twenty years' purchase of a fairly 
high rent, calculated at twenty per cent, off, and payable 
in a lump sum. But no fair price is likely to satisfy the 
Irish leaders. They are only satisfied when they are 


robbing, and then at the moment of robbery. When it is 
done, they are sorry they did not take more. 

" Land purchase, I think, should be compulsory at 
the instance of the landlord on the entire body of ten- 
ants on his estate. The estate should then be valued by 
a court, taking into account not merely the rental but 
all the circumstances, at a capital sum, say ^"100,000. 
All the chargees and mortgagees of the property should 
be made parties to the proceeding. Stock of the face 
value of ,£100,000 should then be issued by a local body, 
the grand jury of the county, or a special board, and 
guaranteed by the government, negotiable and bearing 
interest. This stock should then be divided proportion- 
ally between all the parties in interest. The only par- 
ties then left to be dealt with would be the local authori- 
ties, the imperial government, and the new proprietors. 
The local authorities would collect the yearly instalments 
of the purchase money in the same way and by the same 
officers as the local rates are now collected, and thus 
meet the interest on the stock, and with the surplus form 
a sinking fund for its redemption. On default in the pay- 
ment of the interest the imperial government should have 
the power to levy on any of the local rates or other county 
property in the same way as they now levy on account of 
unpaid instalments of county loans." 

" What objection do you have to Home Rule ? " I 
asked one day. 

" Only the objection a man has to being robbed and 
murdered," he replied, " I want some reasonable guaran- 
ty for the protection of our property and for the integ- 
rity of our throats. This is not due to any exaggerated 
fear. These men are a set of scoundrels, and they, the 
leaders of the League, would be our rulers, — the League 


which bases its power on midnight outrages and terror- 
ism as great as ever was in France under the Reign of 
Terror. The men who won the battle would have the 
power, and would use it without scruple, to crush all 
classes and individuals opposed to them. Home Rule 
would probably result in civil war in the north, and then 
there would be retaliation upon us in the south, who are 
too few to fight. There is, of course, bluster on both 
sides, but the north would then have something to fight 
for. In a revolution the extremists always have things 
for a time their own way. We know the party, and know 
that under Home Rule they would repeat every mistake 
that has been made from the time of Abraham down, at 
vast expense. If this country were farther off from 
England, there might be more to be said for autonomy, 
but now it is and can be only a farm for England. How 
can it be improved as a farm, is the question. The Na- 
tionalists wish to reclaim more wild land. What I want 
is to have the land already under tillage ploughed two 
inches deeper all over. But the people are too lazy to 
do this." 


"For some years after I came here in 1872," said the 
priest, " when I went about asking the people about their 
relations with the landlords, I heard very few complaints. 
The rents were usually raised here by the tenants them- 
selves, who would go behind a neighbor's back to the 
agent and offer a larger rent. The landlords were hu- 
man, and could not help saying : ' You must pay me more,' 
for I am offered more by your neighbor.' I interfered 
on many occasions, and told the agent that the old ten- 
ant had made the improvements that justified the in- 


crease, so that to charge him more, or let the farm to 
another, was to rob the old tenant of his improvements. 

" Two years before the agitation began butter was 
often as high as 160s. a hundredweight ; cows were ex- 
ceedingly valuable, selling for ^"18 or ^20 a head, while 
they sell now, and used to sell previously, for ^12. 
Fancy prices were put on grazing land ; and even shop- 
keepers speculated in farms. 

" That property over there, for instance, used to belong 

to a Captain L , who was hurt in a hunting accident, 

and died of blood poisoning, leaving a widow and three 
little children. The trustees put the estate into chancery, 
and the court had it offered for sale in lots. A number 
of people came to bid. Many offered any rent the agent 
might fix, and some even offered 5^. an acre more than 
any one else should offer. Proposals were required in 
writing, and I gave many who asked me for certificates 
of solvency letters to the agent. The agent, an official 
of the court, met the farmers one day in this house, and 
told them he had to receive all the offers made and for- 
ward them to the court, but that the rent offered was, in 
his opinion, absurdly high, and more than the land was 
worth. I said I had already told every one that the land 
was originally bog mountain that Captain L had im- 
proved at great expense ; but the farmers assured me 
they could make the rent and a good profit as well. In 
two years prices tumbled, and I spoke to the agent my- 
self and got a reduction of twenty-five or thirty per cent., 
and since then fifteen per cent, more has been allowed. 

"In 1878 and 1879, a cry was raised to pay no more 
than Griffith's valuation. Young fellows went about from 
house to house dressed up as bashi-bazouks, by precon- 
certed arrangement, to coerce the people in fun to adopt 


Griffith's valuation. Many farmers got their own chil- 
dren to write notices warning them to pay at their peril 
no more than the valuation, signed with a skull and 
cross-bones. Then the farmers would go to the agent and 
say : 'I would willingly pay more, but I don't dare to.' 

" At that time and before five policemen were enough 
to keep order in the town. Soon these young fellows 
who went round masquerading were impressed by the 
secret societies and became regular moonlighters. The 
League was started, and I believe that all the secret 
society men are Leaguers, though all the Leaguers are not 
secret-society men. The oath of the secret societies is, 
as I know, to take up arms, when called on, for the Irish 
Republic. Soon after the League was established two 
bailiffs were murdered near the town, many more were 
wounded, cattle were injured, and hay ricks were burned. 
Then a great terror began to prevail throughout the 
country. A company of soldiers was drafted here, and 
the police increased to eighty or a hundred. 

" Tenants anxious to pay would often pay the land- 
lord through third persons and would refuse to take re- 
ceipts. Fifty or sixty times since 1881 or 1882 farmers 
have paid me the rent to my own cheek, asking me to 
pay over to the landlord the full rent, if necessary, and 
to get them what abatement I could. This was to avoid 
the vengeance of the League. You can have no idea of 
the degree of terrorism created by the League. I could 
never sanction the League, as a priest. 

" The agitation has caused much indirect loss to the 
country. In 1875 there were some 60,000 visitors at 
Killarney ; now there are very few. Shooting, fishing, 
and hunting are boycotted, and yet such sports brought 
into Limerick ^25,000 or more a year. 


" The landlords are evidently blamed before the world, 
many of them justly. The chief rack-renters were pur- 
chasers under the Encumbered Estates Act. They had 
often borrowed the purchase money and had to raise the 
rents to meet the interest. Fines of ^ioo or ^200 were 
also sometimes exacted on marriages, transfers, or giving 
leases. In North Kerry, take the Locke estate for ex- 
ample : the last of the family to hold it was a Miss 
Locke, who married an Italian count. The land had 
been let at a very low figure, and the tenants refused to 
take leases when they could, as happened also on Lord 
Kenmare's property. The property was bought under 
the Encumbered Estates Act by various country gentle- 
men in Kerry who had saved money, and they soon 
quadrupled the rents. 

" Yet the old landlords usually dealt fairly with their 
tenants, for they had large properties and were not crip- 
pled. On the Kenmare estate, before the Land Act, 
^700 of arrears were cleared off in one year by a stroke 
of the pen. The kindest men have come off worst, for 
they had most arrears. Lord Kenmare's mere labor bill 
was sometimes ^300 a week. Up to the time of the 
agitation he had spent ^"60,000 in improvements for 
which he had never demanded a penny, and yet he has 
been treated as badly as any one. 

" A striking thing in Kerry is the apparent anomaly 
that the cheaper a man gets his land the more idle he is 
apt to be. There is one townland in this parish let at 
2s. 6d. an Irish acre to one man for ninety-nine years. 
He divided it between his five or six children, and so far 
as I can see no improvement has been made by the 
tenants, and they are about the poorest in the parish. 
There are others who pay heavier rents who work harder 
and are much better off. 


" There is a great want of practical knowledge among 
the farmers. They keep no accounts and never know 
how they stand. The women might make good butter 
if they took pains ; but it is carelessly made, and the 
farmers often keep the butter during the summer for the 
price to rise, and by the time they sell it it has deterio- 

"In 1872 the potatoes were not worth taking out of 
the ground. I had to send to Killarney for potatoes fit 
to eat, and when I inquired about the seed, I found they 
had been growing potatoes from the same seed for 
twenty years. I got seed from Dublin and raised excel- 
lent potatoes ; but when I told the people that they 
should change the soil and change the seed every two or 
three years, they would n't understand, and said I man- 
aged the land better than they did. One year I took 
a field on the road to the station. The year before it 
had n't paid. I took it for a smart rent, to raise a good 
oat crop, for the oats are as bad here as the potatoes, for 
the same reason. I got oats from Cork, and the oats I 
raised were better than the seed. The field was by the 
road, where every one could see it, and I drew the peo- 
ple's attention to it. Then they began to think I was a 
little touched in my head on the subject of seed. In 
1879 tne potatoes failed. I got champions for seed, and 
planted champions and some of the old potatoes in the 
same field. The champions alone survived ; but then it 
was too late. 

" It is important to dispel the ignorance of the farmers. 
I would have agricultural teachers, to travel about and 
teach something of practical farming. There should 
be an agricultural school, where farmers' sons could go, 
in a central place. Glasnevin is not central enough. 


What teaching there is now is too theoretical. Attach an 
acre or two to every national school. 

" A small duty on flour would answer all the Irish need 
of protection. This would start the flour mills. Beyond 
this I would not interfere with free trade, for if there had 
been free trade in 1848 there would have been nothing 
like a famine. 

" Peasant proprietorship would satisfy the people. 
The farmers would then cease to agitate for Home Rule. 
I would have a measure of compulsory sale and pur- 
chase, and in estimating the value of the land, I would 
look neither at the valuation nor the rent, but simply at 
the condition of the land, allowing for unexhausted im- 

" Finally, let the government help the people along the 
coast to make nets and build boats. Then the sea would 
be their farm." 


The secretary of the League at Killarney is a respect- 
able auctioneer, and he invited me at once to a commit- 
tee meeting in the evening. The room was like a lodge 
room, but there was no secrecy or formality about the 
proceedings. The only business was the distribution of 
some money subscribed by the central board for eleven 
laborers discharged by Lord Kenmare for refusing to 
work on the farm of an evicted tenant. Five members 
were present, earnest, quiet-looking men of the type of 
the average Odd-Fellows in a Massachusetts country 
town. Their meetings, they said, were in no sense secret 
and they had no pass-words or grips. They were essen- 
tially not what the government was trying to make of 
them, a secret society. They neither did nor thought 


any thing that might not be published in a newspaper. 
They wished to win national autonomy and worked for 
it all they could. The local branches had no initiative, 
but whenever there was any doubt about the propriety of 
any action, they referred the matter to the central board. 
Their part was to foster every spark of independence 
among the people. 

The outrages in Kerry were the doing of persons who 
acted on their own behalf, and the League now con- 
demned them, though when moonlighting first began it 
was difficult not to sympathize with some outrages that 
were excited by injustice. It was essential that the ten- 
ants should join in refusing to pay exorbitant rents. 
There were some years ago a number of old-fashioned 
farmers who believed that landlordism was part of the 
system of the universe, and that rents must be paid at 
any sacrifice. Some young farmers' sons, more liberally 
educated than their fathers, found that these old men 
could only be influenced by terror, and then they organ- 
ized these moonlight excursions. Individually Leaguers 
sympathized at first with these young fellows, but now 
they are absolutely opposed to any outrage, as they feel 
sure of getting their ends by legal methods. 

Only a few days before, the League had been pro- 
claimed, and my companions felt some curiosity to know 
what the proclamation meant. " We may be imprisoned," 
they said, " but we will meet as long as we are free." 


About Killarney " moonlighting " still continues. 
" Near here," said a gentleman who fortunately finds 
scholarship more lucrative than his small property, 
" Fleming wanted a farm that a widow had given up. 


When he applied at the office, they told him it had been 
given to Murphy. A day or two later some relations of 
Fleming met Mrs. Murphy and said : ' Well, he has the 
land, perhaps he wont enjoy it long.' Within a week 
Murphy was shot. 

" Sheehan, a Leaguer, with one brother a priest and 
another at Stonyhurst, bought an interest in a farm. A 
neighbor envied it and offered more, and finally got a 
band of moonlighters and fired into Sheehan's house ; 
but the man still sticks on, and is protected by police. 

" About this time last year, Cornelius Murphy bought 
an interest in a farm from Moynihan, near Kantuck, in 
County Cork. The deed was drawn and signed in the 
presence of the P. P. of Banteen ; the money was paid, 
the farm stocked and ploughed. The end of January, 
Moynihan summoned Murphy to give the farm up, as some 
one else had offered more for it. I asked the priest if 
there was any thing in the deed to justify such a claim. 
He replied: 'Nothing in the world.' On March 13th, 
masked men called on Murphy, late at night, turned him 
and his wife out of bed, and made him swear, with three 
pistols pointed at his head, to give the farm up the next 
day. A few weeks afterwards I got a letter from one 
Cahill, a returned American, asking to be recognized as 
tenant, since Moynihan had surrendered the farm. Mur- 
phy also wrote me, April nth, saying : ' I wish to inform 
your honor that I gave up Moynihan farm as the Rev. 
Father Mowery has settled the matter. It did not pay 
me, but I thought better to get out of danger — there is 
nothing so good as a quite life, and so long as I would 
hold that place I would not have much pace of mind 
and dealing with these people.' " 

A professional man in Kerry illustrated the prevailing 


terrorism when he said : " It would be, I believe, a mat- 
ter of life and death with me if I told you now the whole 
truth about the country. Before 1879, you could n't 
with ^100 have bribed a Kerryman born at home to as- 
sassinate any one ; but the other day I said to an intel- 
ligent P. P., in his Bishop's presence : ' Now one could 
probably find a dozen men within ten miles who would 
assassinate any one for half a crown.' ' I fear,' said he, 
1 that is absolutely true.' 

" The law now is not equal to the punishment of the 
graver offences. If six moonlighters were seen crossing 
a field in open daylight, not a man would dare for any 
money to tell the police. 

" I asked a man the other day, What is it Murphy did 
that made them shoot him ? ' i Well,' said he, glancing 
cautiously around, ' I think it was pure blackguardism ; 
the Divil got hold of them.' ' Is there any sympathy for 
him ? ' ' Shure, your honor, there is, but if I met a 
neighbor I could n't trust him, and would say, if he asked 
me, the Divil meant him.' 

" After the imprisonment of Parnell, and the no-rent 
manifesto, many men were visited at night and asked to 
produce their pass-books. Then, if they were found to 
have paid any rent, they were ordered to stand up with 
their faces to the wall, and their legs were peppered with 
shot. Sometimes their calves were shot away, and many 
were crippled for life. 

" Murphy was killed by having his leg shot off above 
the ankle. 

" Leahy, for outbidding another for a farm of Lord 
Kenmare's was shot and frightfully bayonetted before 
his wife's face. No evidence was given at the trial. 

" Donaghue, within a mile of Killarney, was shot in the 


legs, four years ago, for buying out a broken-down 
tenant farmer, part of the money going to pay for arrears 
of rent. 

" Rehilly was murdered near the workhouse in Killar- 
ney, on his way home, in December, 1885, about five 
o'clock in the afternoon, because he had been the care- 
taker of an evicted farm. 

" Brown, a farmer near here, purchased his own and a 
neighboring farm, which he sublet. His neighbor did n't 
pay, and Brown threatened to eject him. A few days 
later Brown was shot while working in a field in the mid- 
dle of the day. His two brothers in Mollahiffe are to 
this day not allowed to see or help the widow. 

" Curtin was a personal friend of mine. He was a cul- 
tivated man, and had been educated by the Jesuits. In 
1848 he lived in Limerick, and harbored O'Gorman after 
the rising. At the time of the celebrated Blennerhasset 
election he was a tenant of Lord Kenmare's, and was the 
only one of the tenants who refrained from voting for 
the landlord's man. He was always generous to his 
neighbors, lending money and machines. In the autumn 
of 1875, Curtin, then a member of the League here, 
headed a deputation of tenants to Lord Kenmare to ask 
for a reduction. Lord Kenmare referred them to the 
trustees in whose hands the property was, and the trus- 
tees said that, since the Land Act, they could only make 
a reduction on the order of a Land Court. Curtin then 
was one of the first to pay rent. Soon after he was 
visited by masked men who demanded arms. He refused, 
ordered them to go, shot and killed one, Casey, a neigh- 
bor's son, and was shot himself. The next Sunday 
Casey was buried near Muckross Abbey, and Curtin, the 
same day, at Mollahiffe. Scarcely a man went to Cur- 


tin's funeral, while the whole country-side attended 
Casey's, and the curate who officiated there told me the 
whole congregation rose to leave the church the minute 
he began to regret the death of Curtin, and to avoid a 
scandal he turned back to the altar and went on with the 
service. All over Castleisland that Sunday placards 
were posted warning the people not to pay rent if they 
would escape the fate of Curtin of Mollahiffe. Mrs. 
Curtin and her daughters prosecuted, and a brother of 
Casey was convicted at Christmas. Meantime I often 
heard the people cursing : ' May the Lord sweep them off 
the face of the earth for attacking the poor moonlighters ! ' 

" If Curtin had done like Mr. Kilbride of Luggacurran, 
who, though a rich man, allowed himself to be evicted at 
a loss of six or seven thousand pounds, he would be 
alive to-day." 

Through a boggy country, with the fields separated by 
trenches cleanly cut like gashes in new cheese, past 
thatched huts with great piles of peat silhouetted in- 
tensely black against their whitewashed walls, I drove 
to Mollahiffe. Girls on the road hooded their faces with 
their arms, and hooted when we asked the way to Mrs. 
Curtin's. By the large iron gateway a policeman was 
pacing, and a few yards within was the house, comforta- 
ble to look at, densely ivy-grown. 

" I can never live here in peace," said Mrs. Curtin, 
" but they won't let me go. I tried to sell it at auction, 
but notices were posted that any purchaser would get the 
same treatment as old Curtin. 

" Laborers will not work for us ; one we engaged last 
year went off, saying he had been brought before the 
League and forbidden to stay. The smith won't work 
for me, nor the carpenter ; they say they would be glad 


to, but are afraid of the 'night-boys.' For doing a few 
jobs for us, as it was, the smith had his windows broken. 
The baker still supplies us, but his house has been fired, 
his windows smashed, and his gates unhinged. The 
neighbors won't buy of us ; they say they would only be 
buying trouble for themselves. In June I bought some 
cattle in Milltown, but the farmer who sold them has 
been accused by a cobbler, the president of the League. 
A fortnight ago an outhouse was burned, uninsured, for 
no company will insure us. Some months ago Mr. Spring, 
a neighbor, bought a calf from me. Tuesday last it was 
found by the roadside with its throat slit. He borrowed 
a turf ' rail ' from us about the same time. Ten days ago, 
at night, it was broken up and the pieces thrown into the 
river. Three or four weeks ago, near the church, my 
driver, a faithful servant, was beaten and left for dead 
on the road. The other night the house next door was 
fired into ; and the next Sunday notices were posted 
warning the woman there not to let her daughter talk to 
our policemen. 

" Our servants are asked sometimes whether they got 
any of the blood-money, and often, going to chapel, they 
have the door banged in their faces. 

" Whenever the backs of the police are turned, the 
people thrust out their tongues at us and spit at us. 

" We have had to hear mass in the sacristy ever since 
the murder. The people broke up our bench in the 
church. Father Pat got us a new one in Cork, for no 
one would make it nearer. The driver who brought it 
out was beaten, and finally forced to go to America ; and 
the new pew was torn from its place and broken to bits 
in the churchyard. 

" The reason for all this was our prosecuting my hus- 


band's murderers. If I had n't happened to recognize 
some of them, I should never have suspected them to 
be neighbors. I thought no one who knew him would 
hurt him. I had made him join the League, for they 
said they would boycott any one who did n't. The last 
words he said, as he lay in the doorway, were : ' Go 
home, boys, now ! ' " 

In the centre of a large untidy farmyard is the high 
thatched hut of Mrs. Casey. She looked like an old 
chieftain, with pale delicate face surrounded by the stiff 
frill of her white cap, as she sat by the peat-fire watch- 
ing the bubbles rising in an immense iron pot hanging 
from the crane. 

" For the death of Curtin," she said in a clear, strong 
voice, "three Sullivans, two Caseys, Darley, Spring, 
MacMahon, Clifford, and others were arrested. The 
Curtins swore black, brown, and white against Darley 
and my sons, and laid low one of widow Sullivan's. 

" Curtin's people had got blood-money before : his 
grandfather in '98 was an informer. 

" If those boys did that thing, they merely went for 
arms ; a foolish thing, but it has been done throughout 
Ireland, and is done to-day. 

" As long as I am alive, and my children, and their 
children live, will we try to root the Curtins out of the 
land. Now, I will, I will do it. Was n't a young man 
more than equal to that old codger ? 

" Yet I am better off than she is. I can go out to-day, 
and I won't have peelers about me, and I won't be 
hooted and booed. 

" My oldest boy went insane and I am sick, so, as 
long as I live, the Curtins shall have my good wishes. 

" The Land Acts are no good to us. What 's the 


good of going into court, when, if you get a reasonable 
reduction, the landlord can appeal ? 

" We pay the same for that gravel pit there as for any 
thing else. My landlord has made over ^600 out of it. 

" The rates, the county cess, and the peeler-tax are 
are now more than the rent. A firkin of butter is sell- 
ing for half price, and there 's no price for any thing. I 
hope I won't die till I 've seen some good sights." 


Mr. D. Harrington is a brother of the member of Par- 
liament and the Secretary of the League, and is the 
popular editor of the Kerry Sentinel, a man of consider- 
able force of character. 

" There have been outrages committed in'Tralee and 
Castleisland. Miss Thompson of Feenit was obliged 
to have police protection, and an agent of Lord Ken- 
mare's was murdered not many years ago ; but over 
the fellows who commit the outrages the League has 
no control, though a few of them may be Leaguers. 
Each town has its own set of rowdies, but there is 
no connection between them. Most of the outrages 
are due to private motives. For instance, some of the 
landlords are very immoral men. Wives and daughters 
are sometimes sent with the rent to the great house 
for reasons that are not generally known. When Mr. 
Stead was here I gave him copies of some of this evi- 
dence. Every thing, however, is twisted into an agrarian 
crime. I have just paid as a rate-payer the last instal- 
ment granted the widow of a man who, I believe, was 
killed in a street brawl. 

" This county is purely agricultural, and the poverty 
of the tenant farmers causes general distress. The 


tradespeople suffer as much as the landlords. Our 
books show ,£1,400 of debts, of which we shall scarcely 
get one pound. Of course, for the time, no improve- 
ments are being made, and the land is deteriorating. 
The farmers are waiting till the land question is settled. 
They would be very glad to settle it, but the movement 
has gone so far that they won't be satisfied with any but 
a proper settlement. The terms under Lord Ashbourne's 
Act were usually made too high. I advised the tenants 
to be very careful about going in under it. Before they 
purchase they should have a fair rent fixed as a basis. 
The courts are doing that very reasonably, and no new 
machinery is needed. The reductions given by the 
courts have been generally greater than those demanded 
under the Plan of Campaign. The Plan has not been 
adopted on a single property here, and we have paid for 
not adopting it. 

" The flatlands in Kerry are in the hands of graziers, 
and are turned into sheep walks, while the people are 
scratching the sides of the mountains. If all were thrown 
•into agricultural land and implements were given the 
people, we could compete with America. The last re- 
source is a duty on American corn and flour." 

"But isn't it wrong," I asked, "for a man to refuse 
either to pay rent or to give up his farm ? " 

" Not if half of the land is his," replied Mr. Harring- 
ton. " To evict a man and to burn his house is a crime 
for which a landlord should be prosecuted, for he has 
destroyed the property of another. 

" Home rule will come, there 's no doubt about that. 
Would n't it be wiser for the landlords even now to 
throw in their lot with the people and not talk about tak- 
ing their money and leaving the country ? If they stayed 


with us, they would soon become leaders of the people 
instead of men like my brothers. But they are blind 
and deaf, and persist in raising dishonest cries about 
persecution of the Protestants. As to Catholic oppres- 
sion. H , a Protestant and Conservative, is Clerk 

of the Crown and Peace here. His son Richard is So- 
licitor to the Board of Guardians, which is Nationalist to 
a man. His second son is Deputy Sheriff. The Dep- 
uty Sub-sheriff is also of the same party. The Secretary 
of the Grand Jury is a brother of the Knight of Kerry. 
He makes probably ^900 a year. Such men do not 
want Home Rule. Yet there are a hundred thousand 
men like myself, who would not care for Home Rule, 
and would not welcome it, if it meant the oppression of 
our Protestant fellow-countrymen. 

" It is the English manufacturers who are the chief 
opponents of Home Rule, because they are afraid of the 
development of Irish manufactures. Parnell said at one 
time that we would want protection for two or three 
years. Free trade unquestionably is a great evil. But 
one great benefit Home Rule would bring, would be that 
wealthy Irishmen would return from America and Aus- 
tralia, and settle down here and start industries as they 
never would except under Home Rule. It is true we 
have no coal-fields ; but I can get coal here in Tralee 
cheaper than I could in Kent. 

" This ' physical force ' business is the merest folly. 
We have had the greatest difficulty in restraining the 
more violent men. I would go so far as this that if 
pushed to the wall I would sell my life as dearly as pos- 
sible ; but I believe we shall win all we want without 
shedding one drop of blood. Davitt is a brave man and 
self-sacrificing, but this movement needs a cool head like 


Parnell's. It is easy for Americans to talk of fighting, 
for they have nothing to lose." 


One of the best-hated men in Ireland was my host for 
a night, in a police-protected country house on the ro- 
mantic coast of Kerry. As I watched him laughing 
merrily, as his daughter sang the magnificent mock- 
heroic chorus of " The Ballyhooly Horse," it was star- 
tling to reflect that this apparently amiable, scholarly 
gentleman was nearly blown up by dynamite in his own 
house not many years ago, and that his name is a by- 
word and a curse throughout the county. 

" Gladstone's Land Bill," he said, " is the cause of the 
present hopeless confusion. By that act the letting of land 
ceased to be a commercial transaction, and now the motto 
of the people is ' work as you like, you are bound to live.' 
In Kerry there never was any custom like the Ulster 
Tenant Right before, though the landlord often allowed 
a tenant to nominate his successor, but that was a very 
different thing, for the landlord then could make sure of 
the accession of an improving, industrious man. 

" The agitation is purely agrarian and communistic. 
It is spreading all over Europe, but in France is checked 
by the number of small proprietors, always a conservative 
body. It is the result of distress, and the distress is due 
to over-population. In Kenmare a man had a farm pay- 
ing ;£io a year. He wished to divide it between his two 
sons. I told him that was against the rules of the estate, 
and, besides, would impoverish his sons. He insisted. 
To test him, I said he would have to pay me ^7 down 
for the privilege. ' Certainly,' he replied ; but of course 
I did n't allow it. Another tenant of mine got a judicial 


rent fixed at £$0. The penalty for subdivision was a 
heavy forfeit. He came to me and said : ' For God's 
sake, let me keep my two sons.' The best-farmed land 
in Great Britain is East Lothian. Five sixths of that is 
in tillage, and yet the population is less per acre than 
several counties in Ireland that are wholly grass land. 

" The dishonesty of the Parnellites was shown by 
their opposition to a clause proposed by Gladstone in 
the Land Bill of 1881, granting a million pounds for as- 
sisting emigration. Parnell wants the people at home in 
order to force the hand of the government. What 
would be thought of a popular leader in New York who 
refused the offer of a philanthropist to give poor people 
tickets to New Mexico, where there is plenty of work 
and grub ? My son goes to New Mexico to farm, why 
should my tenant object to having his son go there ? 

" Applicants for government aid for emigration are 
required to present a certificate of their respectability 
from the parish priest. A Protestant clergyman asked 
me the other day if he might sign such certificates, as the 
parish priest had given out that he would not sign any. 

"Another reason for Irish distress is their bad farm- 
ing. In Scotland there are about a million acres devoted 
to agriculture, to four million in Ireland, and yet Scot- 
land produces more cereals. In Scotland a pair of 
horses to sixty acres of tillage is the usual allowance. 
Here on a farm I own, of fifty-three acres, there are fif- 
teen horses. What the farmer does with them I can't 

" The distress is increased by the farmers squandering 
their money on drink. One railroad company brought 
to Tralee, in 1886, sixty thousand dollars' worth of 
whiskey, and the two companies together about a hun- 


dred thousand dollars' worth. Whiskey used to be six 
shillings a gallon, but now more is drunk when it is ten 

lt It is now the shirts against the shirtless ; and if a 
general Land Purchase Bill were passed, the question of 
Home Rule would be dropped, for then most of the 
voters would have something to lose. 

" Nothing could be more advantageous to the tenant 
than the purchase clauses of Lord Ashbourne's Act. 
Suppose a man is paying ^100 a year ; he could usually 
buy his farm for ^1,800, the interest on which, at four 
per cent., is ^72, a reduction at once of about thirty 
per cent. He should be willing to have those clauses 
extended and to have the rents fixed as a basis for pur- 
chase by the present land courts. The landlords in 
general have paid twenty-one years' purchase for their 
property. I did, and that to the government, under the 
Encumbered Estates Act. We should expect to be paid at 
least eighteen years' purchase. The Nationalists say : 
' You bought a stone horse, and should take the conse- 
sequences ' ; but the government said to me when I 
bought : 'We are selling in order to simplify titles.' They 
might recompense me. What right has the government 
to give me over to the rabble ? They should at least buy 
my property first before giving me over ; for if I stayed 
here, within a year my throat would be cut. When they 
tried to blow up my house with dynamite, there were six- 
teen people in the house, yet all those lives were to be 
sacrificed ; and not a single priest, when I met them, 
except Father John, of my own parish, expressed any 

" The melancholy thing about the present agitation is 
that it strikes at the good as well as the bad landlords, 


and at the best most severely, since they are the most 
yielding. Mr. Oliver and Lord Cork have the two cheap- 
est-let properties in Kerry, and yet one was shot at and 
the other has to have police protection. In six years, 
during which I was Lord Kenmare's agent, he spent 
more money in improving his Kerry property than he 
took out of it. An estate under my charge in 1840 was 
subject to a rental of £2,376, which was well and punctu- 
ally paid. At that time there was no railroad within a 
hundred and fifty miles of it. Now it has a railroad 
station on it ; and although the landlord has expended 
considerable sums on improving it, the rental has been 
reduced by the Land Commissioners to £ 1,892. During 
the same period the rental of Orkney has increased from 
,£19,332 to £56,850, or 194 per cent.; and yet, the 
present M. P. for Orkney has complained about Irish 
rack-rents. The landlords will turn at last, for twelve 
years' purchase will leave them nothing above their 
charges ; and their charges, including mortgages, family 
charges, duties to the government, tithes, and interest on 
drainage loans, are undiminished. I invested £50,000 
in Irish land ; now if any one will offer me £30,000, I 
will take it and be off. 

" It is said that the tenants are weighed down by ar- 
rears hanging over them from the famine times ; but by 
the Arrears Act of 1882 a tenant could come into court, 
and on the payment of one year's rent, all arrears prior 
to the judicial rent fixed for the current year were wiped 
off, the government paying the landlord a second year's 
rent. For this purpose a million pounds were granted. 
In many cases I took one year's rent from the govern- 
ment, and forgave the tenant every thing. 

" My plan for meeting the Home-Rule agitators is this : 


1 You want Home Rule, do you ? Then pay your share 
of the national debt ; pay off any loyalists who wish to 
leave the country ; appoint the President of the United 
States and the Emperor of Germany commissioners to 
value the property of the loyalists, and then pay them 
and let them go.' Let every one who refuses to agree to 
this be disfranchised. 

" In every thing Ireland is the poorest country in the 
world, and England the richest. Should these countries 
be kept apart and by themselves ? No ; jumble them 
up, toss them up together as you would a pancake. 
There are twelve thousand police in Ireland, all Irish- 
men. I would establish them in England, and have 
twelve thousand Englishmen as policemen here. I would 
send all the dispensary doctors to England, and have all 
English doctors here ; and I would have the courts amal- 
gamated, Irish judges sitting in England and English 
judges here. 

" One change in the direction of local self-government 
I should approve of : Judges or Commissioners of Pub- 
lic Works should be appointed to go on circuit through 
the counties, in order to save the expense of our going 
to London. In many ways less centralization would be 
a good thing, for the typical Irishman gives his soul to 
the priest and his body to the government to take care 


At the end of August several evictions took place on 
the property of the O'Grady at Herbartstown, in County 
Limerick. The excitement was intense. The defenders 
of one house poured hot water and tar on the officers, and 
tried to hook them with a hot iron rod. " The resistance 


offered on that occasion," urged the counsel for those 
who were arrested, " was not offered from the point of 
view of its being a legal defence, but its aim and object 
was to attract public attention to what was going on, and 
to make a protest against what those people might con- 
sider an unjust eviction." x An aged, bedridden woman, 
Mrs. Moloney, it was reported, was cruelly turned out of 
her home and had to be carried a mile or more through 
the bitter weather. A few days afterwards, an Irish 
member referred in Parliament to her death from the 
exposure, and arraigned the government for permitting 
such brutality. The effect of these evictions on English 
opinion was said to be greater than that of all the speeches 
of Mr. Gladstone. The week following I drove there 
from Limerick. 

The road from Herbartstown passes through excellent 
lands. Luxuriant hedges prove the richness of the soil. 
Here and there a " boycotted " farm breaks the succes- 
sion of emerald fields, with its patch of black rag-weeds 
and white thistles. It is market day at Hospital, and a 
cartful of pigs jolts past us, closely followed by a com- 
pany of pig-jobbers in a covered car. By the side of the 
road that leads up to the village of Herbartstown is a 
field that seemed one mass of weeds. Whose farm is 
that ? I asked of a neighbor standing in a doorway. 
" Tom Moroney's," he answered. " It was one of the 
best in the town." 

McGuire, a blacksmith, the secretary of the League, 
took me to see Mrs. Moroney, whose husband was in 
prison for contempt of court. Her house is the finest in 
the village, a large double stone house, one half of it a 
spirit-grocery. All the furniture had been moved away, 
1 Cork Herald, September 8, 1887. 


except a few chairs and tables. The front door was for- 
tified with a mass of large iron weights, and with an 
enormous log of wood that was leaning against it with 
one end on the stairs. 

" The state of affairs can be put in a few words," said 
McGuire. " Three years ago the landlord agreed to 
revalue the property, and persuaded the tenants to accept 
his own valuer. Moroney and two small tenants refused ; 
and one of them went into court and got a much larger 
reduction than that allowed by the valuer. For some 
years the tenants were allowed fifteen and twenty per 
cent, off, but a year ago the agent said he had no author- 
ity to continue the reduction. Subsequently he offered 
fifteen per cent, all round, and finally fifteen to judicial 
lease-holders and twenty-five per cent, to the others. 
The tenants demanded thirty and forty per cent, respec- 
tively, and adopted the ' Plan.' 

" O'Grady served every one with writs, and drove 
Moroney into bankruptcy. It was difficult to find out 
Moroney's assets, for after the ' Plan ' was adopted all 
the tenants sold off their cattle and put the money into 
the ' Campaign fund.' Moroney and Father Ryan re- 
fused to testify about this ' fund,' and were imprisoned 
for contempt of court. This house was sold at auction 
by the court to a Mr. Bullen for ^50, and Mrs. Moroney 
is now holding it only as a caretaker, expecting to be 
evicted at any moment. 

" O'Grady made successive offers to the people up to 
the day of the evictions, but we were pledged not to pay 
a penny of costs, no matter what abatements were given. 
They went to Mrs. Ryan, and said : ' Won't you make 
some settlement if Mrs. Hogan does ? ' * No, I won't, 
not a penny,' she said. It was a matter of principle. 


O'Grady offered even to take payment by instalments, at 
first of £5 a year, and then of £1 a year, but nobody 
listened to him. 

" There were thirteen people to be evicted, most of 
them in the village, but all except the six actually evicted 
were protected by the new Land Act. Every one be- 
lieves that if the town people had been attacked, there 
would have been murder done, for every house is barri- 

" Moroney has twenty acres, this house, and five small 
houses, besides the fair ground. The rent is ^85. The 
fair ground used to be rented for ,£40, and now is rented 
for ^25 ; and Moroney takes the tolls. This house was 
built by Moroney nine years ago, at a cost of over £600, 
and all that O'Grady gave towards it was ^18. The 
other houses are very old, and were probably built by 
Moroney's ancestors. This rent is enormous, but the 
farmers, if they are to stand at all, need to pay no rent. 

"The evictions were brutal. Poor old Mrs. Moloney 
was taken from her bed and carried to her step-brother's 
house, at the risk of her life." 

" She need only have been lifted for a minute over 
the threshold," I suggested, " for did n't O'Grady offer 
to take her back as caretaker?" "Why," explaimed 
McGuire, " if she had gone back she would only have 
cost O'Grady a penny a week, now he has to pay emer- 
gency men one or two pounds a week, and last week 
there were hundreds of cattle going through these farms, 
for they don't really take care of anything. Our object, 
when the landlord goes against us, is to put him to as 
much expense as possible. It is necessary to punish him. 
Besides, we are afraid of a caretaker coming to terms 
with the agent." 


The prospects of the campaign seem decidedly bright 
for the tenants. Not a penny will they pay until their 
terms are granted, and Moroney and the evicted people 
reinstated. It is difficult to put Moroney back, for his 
house has been sold to another man. " That 's O'Grady's 
look-out," cried McGuire, gleefully. " Now we have him 
at our mercy. He is in a box. But he '11 get no rent 
from any tenant till Moroney is back." 

"Then the property is mortgaged for nearly fifty 
thousand pounds. O'Grady handled only ^5 or £6 
out of all the rental of Herbartstown. The encum- 
brancers will have to foreclose, and then put the estate 
up for sale, and there will be no one to buy it but the 

"The result will be," I hinted, "that you will buy the 
land yourselves pretty cheaply ? " 

" Yes, that is what we all expect." 

In an inner room of a cottage larger than usual I found 
Mrs. Moloney, a very aged woman, covered with a patch- 
work counterpane. " I am well enough to-day," she 
whispered. " That was a dreadful day. I did n't 
know what was happening ; and now I can't see the old 
home. I tried to make the rent. Perhaps it would have 
been better to have gone back as caretaker. I am quite 
comfortable here. They do every thing for me." As 
the old lady is now in the house where she was born, 
and where she can be better taken care of than before, 
her removal the distance of a single field was not per- 
haps an act of extraordinary cruelty. 

The saddest thing to see was the rank growth of weeds 
in the fields. The thistles, some three or four feet high, 
were seeding, and the rag-weeds were like a miniature 
forest. " Why do you let the land get in such a state ? " 


I asked of a young fellow. " Ever since we sold off all 
our cattle last November," he said, "it has not been 
worth while to do any thing." 

Twenty miles from Limerick, on the side opposite to 
Herbartstown, is Bodyke. For some distance fine trees 
overarch the road, and as soon as the woods are passed 
the country opens up flat and boggy. " A great place," 
said my boy driver, " for catching linnets, finches, and 
rabbits " ; and a moment afterwards we met a bird- 
catcher with three cages full. Here and there small 
thatched huts are almost hidden behind ricks of hay and 
straw and long piles of peat. Around us are low, long- 
rolling hills, flecked with every color from orange to 
bluish black, closely spotted with gray heaps of stone 
and chequered with bare stone walls ; beyond rise 
higher hills, golden brown against a silvery sky ; and in 
the valley are long peat dikes and one tiny patch of 
emerald grass, with two cows and a few solitary sheep. 
Each successive amphitheatre of hills is more barren and 
more stony than the last. Stones lie on every side as 
thick as in an ancient graveyard or a glacier moraine, and 
where the stones are fewer there is bog. At last we 
swing suddenly to the left, and are in Bodyke, with its 
four two-storied, thatched spirit-groceries, and the white 
police barracks with its tiled roof. 

The feelings of the striking tenants were perhaps ex- 
pressed most intelligently by a bright-looking, middle- 
aged woman, as she sat in the cosy kitchen of a neat cot- 
tage, Mrs. Dogherty, a teacher in the National School. 
" We have two farms," she said, " and this house in the 
village. One of the farms belongs to Colonel O'Cal- 
laghan, — a farm of five and a half acres, of which two 
acres are snipe bog, and the rest arable land. The rent 


used to be ^12, which we got reduced by the court 
three years ago to jQ'j 10s. Two years ago we all asked 
for 25 per cent, reduction, which was refused, and then 
we joined the ' Plan.' I and my husband could pay the 
rent, but we are bound in honor to our neighbors to pay 
nothing till the Colonel gives in. A year ago we were 
served with ejectment papers, and random evictions 
were made, but we were not touched. Lately we have 
been writted again. 

" Landlords could do any thing they chose till evic- 
tions became difficult. The worst that has been said of 
the Colonel is not bad enough. Every word of Mr. 
Norman's pamphlet about Bodyke is true. The greater 
part of this parish was starving in order to pay their 
rents, and but for the Plan of Campaign many of the 
tenants would not be living now. Eighteen or twenty 
could have paid their exorbitant rents, but the rest 
could n't make the rent out of the land, and got along 
only by going out as laborers and teamsters. 

" As it is, the Colonel will have to give in to our de- 
mands, grant us our abatement of 25 per cent., restore 
the evicted tenants, and refund enough to make good 
all losses caused by the evictions." 

Eviction used to be spoken of as "a sentence of 
death." It is so no longer. " The evicted tenants have 
continued to occupy their farms ever since the evictions, 
but the police are watching them, and they fear being 
turned out again. They have got in some crops, and are 
supported by the ' Campaign Fund,' by regular allow- 
ances from the League, and by public subscriptions. 
The poorer tenants," the good lady continued, " are 
certainly better off than they ever were before." 

It is perhaps worth while noting that even in Bodyke 


there is no general strike against paying rent. " Mr. 
Stackpole, a son-in-law of the Colonel, is a large land- 
owner here, and he has settled with his tenants for a re- 
duction of 15 per cent." Mrs. Dogherty holds a farm of 
fifteen or sixteen acres from Dr. Collinan, of Ennis, and 
the house she lives in belongs to the Colonel's sister, and 
she is paying rent to both. 

The suppression of the League in Bodyke was said to 
have stimulated outrages. A week before my visit a 
baker was found shot dead under his cart, and the night 
before two hundred feet of turf was burned to the 
ground, the woman who owned it being suspected of 
supplying the emergency men. 

As we drove back through the rain the car-boy sang 
unending mournful songs in a low voice, " to kape the 
baste in good humor." The streaming road shone like 
silver in the diffused misty moonlight, and a man march- 
ing moodily by his heavily laden " assen car" loomed up 
like a peasant caught by Millet against a shaft of sunset 



In the town of Galway, the first thing that struck me 
was that there was no longer there a branch of the 
League. " There is no League in this part of the coun- 
try," said a leading Nationalist, a stout, round-faced 
publican, "for the people are so poor they cannot pay 
their subscriptions. They were willing but unable to 
pay. Most of the people in the town," he added signifi- 
cantly, " are Liberal-Unionists." 

At the Bridge Mills the proprietor, Mr. Lynch, was 
sitting in the flour-sprinkled little office, surrounded by 
a little company of enthusiastic Nationalists. " This is 
a wool-growing country," he said, " with the greatest 
water power in the United Kingdom. Independently of 
Home Rule, factories would start up here of their own 
accord, if our people were only energetic ; under Home 
Rule they certainly would. 

" Centralization is a great evil. The bill to construct 
tramways in Galway had to be passed in London. To 
build a bridge across the little river over which you are 
sitting, we had to go to London and spend some fifty 
pounds there. If we had Home Rule we should improve 
hourly. Galway is the natural port of the country for 
ships sailing to the United States, and a Home Rule 
Parliament would build it up as a shipping and steamer 
station. A few years ago the mail packet subsidy was 



taken away from us, and hundreds have been starving 
ever since. Parliament, too, has never given us the pier 
and breakwater we were promised. Heretofore we 
would rather have been under a government of Thugs 
than of the English. 

" As to the land question. The Irish Americans, un- 
fortunately, have done much to raise the price of land in 
Ireland, for they have come back and bought land at any 
price from sentimental notions. Many of the farmers are 
in great distress. I know a man named Curran who lives 
six miles from Clifden, who has fifty or sixty acres, half 
bog. On this holding the rent was twenty pounds in 
1849, an d has been raised successively to twenty-seven 
pounds, forty-five pounds, fifty pounds, and sixty pounds, 
and was lately reduced by the court to thirty pounds. 

" The Land Act of 1881 was necessary, for the land 
was exhausted by frequent cropping to meet exorbitant 
rents, and improvements were prevented by the insecu- 
rity of tenure. We admit that a great deal of our poverty 
is our own fault, as we don't cultivate wisely or enough ; 
but to this we were really forced by the custom of rais- 
ing the rents for every improvement. Of course, too, 
over-population is the cause of much of the evil, but how 
can that be avoided ? 

" The establishment of a peasant proprietary would 
keep money in the country that is now spent abroad. 
Lord Clanricarde takes out of the country about thirty 
thousand pounds a year, not a penny of which ever 
comes back. 

" The landlords, moreover, have not quite so strong a 
claim to compensation as they try to make out. If a 
merchant buys a certain cargo, he cannot be insured a 
certain price for it. Why should a buyer of land be bet- 
ter off ? " 


I referred to the apparent lack of independence in the 
people, as shown by their yielding such blind obedience 
to their leaders. " We have had," he replied, " so much 
experience of disunion and political treachery in Ireland, 
that, for the time, we have decided all to yield to Mr. 
Parnell. Even if we don't approve of his choice of a 
candidate, we submit for the sake of union. This was 
strikingly shown at the last election here. We would not 
have it said that Galway caused a split in the party. 
Many of our M. P.'s are able men but unscrupulous, and 
with patriotism only skin-deep, but if Mr. Parnell sent 
one of them down here we would elect him because he 
would serve our purpose." 

" Would the Protestant minority have fair play under 
Home Rule ? " 

" The influence of the priests, you must remember, is 
not what it was. Except Dr. Croke and Dr. Nulty, 
who sided with the people, the bishops and almost all 
the priests held out against the National movement 
until they saw there was danger of the people falling 
away from them [" Politically," interjected Sullivan] ; 
then they fell in, and are now to the front again." 

u They have been of marvellous service to the cause," 
Sullivan remarked again. 

" Yes," continued Lynch, "but these facts show how 
independent the people have become, for in old times 
the priests used to drive the people before them to the 

" In Galway again, there are about sixteen Catholics to 
one of any other denomination ; yet of the twenty-four 
members of the corporation ten are Protestants, and the 
chairman is a Protestant. On the Harbor Board the 
majority of the members and the chairman are Protes- 


tants. On the Poor-Law Board the chairman is Catholic, 
but three or four of the elected members are Protestants. 
The Poor- Rate Collector is a Protestant, though elected 
by Catholics, and so are the Engineer of the Harbor 
Board, the Town Steward, and the Engineer for the 
Town. A majority of the grand jury are Catholics, for the 
landlords here are Catholics. 

" In fine, I believe that if we had Home Rule to- 
morrow, as I pray God we may, any bishop or priest who 
stood up for ascendancy would have short shrift." 

The opinion of a clockmaker in Galway may be worth 
quoting : 

" I firmly believe," he said, " that Home Rule would 
injure me at first, but that in twenty, fifty, or a hundred 
years my business would be benefited. Within a few 
years a farmer in the west of Ireland was afraid to have 
a clock in his house, because if the agent came round 
and saw it, he would probably raise the rent." 


From Galway I walked along the coast to Clifden. A 
few miles from Galway is Barna, a row of a dozen houses, 
huts with thatched roofs, and three two-story, slated 
houses by the side of the road. In one of the latter 
lived James Hickey, whose story seemed to explain the 
violence of so many Irish patriots. Hickey went to 
America and enlisted at the breaking out of the civil 
war. He was twice wounded, but not mustered out till 
the war was over. His regiment was the Sixth Massachu- 
setts Volunteers, the " Irish Brigade " ; and with several 
other old comrades he took part in the Canadian rising, 
and being in the first detachment that crossed Niagara, was 
taken, and spent many years in Dartmouth Prison. 


" My father rented this strip of land of Lord Camp- 
bell and Stratheden, and built these three stone houses, 
each with eight rooms, and well slated. Nine or ten 
years ago the price of cattle fell, and my father was then 
evicted out of one house, but kept this and the next one, 
which he let as a barracks to the constabulary. If it had 
not been for my wife and children, I would then have 
gone to America. As it was I went to London to see 
the landlord, but he was never at home to me. I found 
myself alone in London, without five shillings in my 
pocket ; it was a blue look-out, but I found a friend in 
T. P. O'Connor, M. P. for Galway, whom I had helped 
in his election ; for I have considerable influence with 
the people here, as I speak equally well English and 
Irish. T. P. O'Connor got me a situation in London, 
and there I stayed till I heard of my father's death. I 
came back at once, knowing little of my father's affairs. 
He used to keep things in a slovenly way, and it was only 
from the agent that I found out he owed two and a half 
years' rent. I had no money in the house at the time, 
and went to see the agent. I stood outside the rail in 
his office and told him ' it can be paid, but I want time.' 
' Pooh, pooh ! ' he said ; ' the landlord can't give you any 
time ; he must get the money.' ' See here,' said I, ' the 
old times are gone. There 's no dark spot now but a 
strong light can be thrown on it as never before, and if 
you squeeze me I '11 squeal ' ' When will you pay me ? ' 
he asked. * I expect to sell this and that,' I said. ' I '11 
sell every stick I have till I get out of this mess ' ; and 
I gave him ^£38 ys. It was then November, 1883, and 
that exhausted my resources. I paid him a pound later, 
and ^10 more in 1886, and then was at the end of my 
tether. I now owe ^42, about two and a half years' rent. 


" 1 went to him and said : ' I have no money now, but 
I own the police barracks, for which I get ^12 a year. 
At twelve years' purchase that is worth nearly ^150. 
Let me mortgage that to you as security, and redeem 
when I can.' He paused a bit, and then said: ' You have 
no lease for it,' he said. ' Whose fault is that ? ' cried I. 
' The land the barracks is on is Lord Campbell's, but 
the building itself is mine. If I can turn over the bar- 
racks to him so that he can secure his ^42 off it, what 's 
the harm ? ' Legally, perhaps, he is owner and I am 
tenant at will, but my father built the houses. Lord 
Campbell never gave a shovel of sand towards building 
it, nor a stick of timber, nor a single slate. Let him 
mortgage it and hold it as security only. I will redeem 
it.' The clerk then drew up a paper, which I signed ; 
and the next day the mean fellow collected a year's rent 
then due on the barracks, and immediately evicted me 
out of it, the constables being all turned out and at once 
put back again. 

" He evicted me out of every thing except the house I 
am now in, and did not leave me land enough ' to sod a 
lark in,' and in that land there I have invested three 
times its fee-simple value. 

" The landlord now has possession of the barracks 
and the land, though I could redeem it with only ^42, 
and I am left with only this house and a few potato 
patches, — and even for these I am writted for evict- 
ment. While I was away, too, and the old man was sick, 
every thing fell into disrepair, and it would take ^20 to 
put things in order again. As to the houses themselves, 
they are solid granite, as solid as Hell Gate in New York 
Sound before they blew it up. 

" Here the rent is not the grievance, though the time 


will come, please God, when we shall pay no rent. In 
fact we pay the rent now with as good grace as we can, 
though we think it an injustice. 

" The land acts have done some good, but your im- 
provements you sacrifice even now if you go out for non- 
payment of rent, and if you let six months pass after an 
eviction without paying, you lose all claim on the land. 
When I could n't hold the land, how could I redeem it in 
six months, after being still further impoverished ? The 
period of redemption should obviously be extended." 

Hickey led me out into a field behind the house, a 
long, green field sloping to the sea. Here and there are 
heaps of broken blocks of granite, like the debris of a 
glacier moraine. A curving granite pier jutted out into 
the blue water and made a tiny harbor. Drawn up on 
the beach were ten or a dozen " corraghs," canoes made 
of tarred sail-cloth nailed over a bare wooden frame, and 
beyond the pier were five or six more. Hickey seemed 
strongly moved, and his eyes filled with tears. " About 
1859," he said gently, " the place we are walking on was 
a prosperous fishing village, named Barna, in the county 
and town of Galway. You are now treading on ruined 
hearth-stones. There were then thirty-five or forty fish- 
ing-boats in this little harbor, instead of three. Barna, 
as it was, had nearly six hundred inhabitants. These 
people lived here in a rude way, well in good times, and 
bearing hard times bravely, — a typical fishing community. 

" Where we are now standing there was a solid block 
of houses. The present village was only the first row of 
the old Barna, and from that to the beach were other 
rows, with little lanes leading down to the water's edge. 
The rent ranged from 15^. to 30s. a house, and there were 
over forty houses. 


" The Lord Campbell of that day thought it would be 
a good idea to have bathing-houses here, and an open 
way to the sea. He ruthlessly exterminated the whole 
community, and spent enormous sums in turning the 
village into the field you see. 

"There were little gardens to the houses, surrounded 
by stone walls : they took the earth from the gardens, 
and filled in the hollows with the ruins of the houses and 
the garden walls, and then covered all snugly over with 
the soil. Do you see those brown spots ? The grass 
does n't grow there, for just beneath the surface is one of 
the sunken stones of the buried village. 

" The Czar of Russia gives subsistence to those he 
transports to Siberia, but the children and the infirm and 
the old people of Barna were sent into the workhouse, 
and the rest wandered here and there over the earth. 
God knows where some of them went to, for I don't. 
In Second and Third streets, and in Athens Street, 
South Boston, there used to be a little colony of these 
people. Perhaps some of them may be there still. 

" The rental of the old village was forty pounds or 
more a year. After all those expensive operations this 
field was let for £2 a year. Now it is divided between 
two tenants who pay altogether about j£S. Assign what 
motive you like to this action of Lord Campbell's, there 
is something diabolical about it. I used to amuse my- 
self by observing the conduct in Parliament of the pres- 
ent Lord Campbell, who is persecuting me. Whenever 
he opened his mouth — he has n't now for some time — it 
was to speak about the misery of the people under the 
Turks. He might have found, I used to think, some 
misery nearer home." 

With such an experience ever in his heart, it is only 


natural that Hickey should feel strongly, but the modera- 
tion with which he considers practical questions is sig- 
nificant. Let me recall one conversation as we walked 
along the Galway road : " In case of war between Eng- 
land and any other power, Ireland would say to England : 

' Give us Home Rule, or ' A large measure of 

Home Rule, that would satisfy the majority of my coun- 
trymen, I would take as a finality, and not, in any sense, 
as an instalment merely or an entering wedge. Then, if 
it ever came in my power to effect separation, so long as 
the government took no unfair advantage and kept the 
agreement, I would not break it myself, though personally 
I might wish for better terms. 

" I should be willing to have all bills of an imperial 
complexion settled finally at Westminster, but all other 
bills relating to Ireland should be dealt with by a Parlia- 
ment at Dublin. The Irish Parliament should send over 
to England what consideration is settled on as Ireland's 
share of the imperial expenses, and the rest of the rev- 
enue they should collect and expend as they think best 
for the interests of Ireland. 

11 One crux will be the disposition of the Irish constab- 
ulary. They are picked men. I don't believe you can 
find their match in the world. But they are the tools of 
the government ; they are spies, taking note of your go- 
ing out and your coming in, and are looked upon by 
their fellow-countrymen as renegades. If we had Home 
Rule, and these men remained under imperial control, 
they would be a wedge through the heart of Ireland for 
England to strike. We should have our enemies at our 
doors" and be unable to dismiss them. Such a state of 
things would be intolerable in any country. 

" I would suggest turning them into militia, each 


county having a regiment, to supplement the imperial 
army if called upon. 

" As policemen the constabulary are not needed. 
Their numbers are absurd. In Barna, a policeman, un- 
less he is drunk, does n't lay his hands on a man's 
shoulder from one year's end to another. There has 
never been a rape here, and not a murder in my 
recollection. I never knew a row here, and there has n't 
been a theft for years. I never lock my back door, and my 
front door very seldom. I don't believe there are three 
locks in the village. And yet in Barna there is one bar- 
racks and five constables ; at Salthill, in the immediate 
neighborhood, another ; in Spiddal, five miles to the 
west, a third, with an inspector, two sergeants, and eigh- 
teen or twenty rank and file ; at Moycullen, six miles to 
the northwest, a fourth ; a fifth, two miles and a half off 
along another road ; a sixth, five miles off in a different 
direction ; and at intermediate places there are iron huts, 
which are occupied by details from different barracks 
' on detached service,' as I used to say. This shows the 
network of police in Ireland. What do we want with so 
many ? 

" At first, even with Home Rule, all will not be satis- 
fied. Underlying all there will be a discontented mass 
of laborers ; but the rent saved will soon become a fund 
for their employment. Till then with the laborers it 
will be a case of ' Live horse to get grass,' but they will 
soon be benefited by the reduction of rents. I am pay- 
ing twenty-three pounds odd for rent. If on my way to 
Galway I got the news to-morrow that I was absolved 
from all rent in scecula sceculorum, I should say : ' Now I 
will turn that field there to better use, and I will improve 
my house. Here Mick, I want you to go right out with 


Pat and Murphy, and get to work at my house and gar- 

" Many laborers will be employed at once, and in nine 
or ten years, when some capital has accumulated, there 
will be room for all the present laborers and for many 
more from America, for even now, every spring and 
every harvest the farmers have to wait for laborers." 

Of boycotting he said : " It is often the only defence 
left the people, and, if used with proper discrimination, 
is effective. It may be abused, but what is there that 

We came into the townland of Furbough. " All this," 
said Hickey, " is the property of Colonel John A. Daly, 
whose family name was Blake. Here even, after the 
passage of the first Land Act, the tenants were most griev- 
ously oppressed. They not only paid rack-rents, poor- 
rates, and taxes, but also tithes, and in addition they had 
to give eight or nine days' labor about the Great House at 
sixpence a day in winter, and eightpence a day in sum- 
mer. There was also a certain amount of ' duty work ' 
required of them, a survival from the feudal times. 
Moreover, every house had to cut a day's turf. 

" Some five years ago, on this same estate, there was a 
man, Peter Kelly, now living in Galway, — a good fellow 
he was, but if you ride on his back, don't spur him, or 
he '11 throw you. The bailiff summoned him to cut turf 
the next day. He told the bailiff to come some other 
day, as he was busy. Some * drivers,' other bailiffs, so- 
called from their occupation, went down and seized his 
cow to impound it the very next day, and drove it so 
carelessly that it fell and broke its legs. Kelly told me 
the cow was worth fifteen pounds, and he never got any 
compensation. If he had said much more to the bailiff, 
he would have lost his house as well." 


In a few minutes a man came driving along the road 
from Galway in an " assen car." It was this very same 
Peter Kelly. " Eight days' duty work I had," said he 
when I asked him. " Divil a copper he paid me for my 

" There was another rule on the estates about here," 
said Hickey, " a harsh one, you will admit. During the 
famine time and the subsequent years when a large num- 
ber of tenants were evicted, the other tenants were strictly 
forbidden to harbor or give any shelter to the evicted 
people. The reason was that the landlord paid half the 
poor-rate, and he was afraid that if these poor people 
stayed here they would come on the Union." 

To the left of the road I noticed a little memorial 
chapel, a sort of mausoleum. " An uncle of Mr. Daly 
acted as his agent here. One day some one put day- 
light through him, near Loughrea, and now he lies there 
in that kennel. He was so detested that one tenant only 
went to the funeral, and he went from motives of policy. 
I met the procession on its way here, and, as it passed by, 
I did not touch my hat." 

On either side of the road are little holdings. The 
country is so rocky and stony that there is scarcely an 
acre not surrounded by a rude stone wall. When you 
look at a gradually sloping hillside you see no green, 
but one wall seems to rise on top of another, so as to 
present the appearance of a continuous mass of stones. 
The walls of the little huts are built as loosely as the 
walls by the roadside, and at a first glance are hardly dis- 
tinguishable. Now and then I knocked at a door and, 
with Hickey acting as interpreter, for the people gener- 
ally speak nothing but Irish, asked a few questions, which 
were promptly and amiably answered. Anthony Con- 


cannon is a tenant of Mr. Marcus Lynch. He has 
twenty-four acres, four of which he used to sow with 
potatoes, but cannot now for want of money to buy seed. 
The rent is ^22, having been reduced in 1881 from £26. 
The day before he had gone to the office to pay some ar- 
rears, and looked in vain for a reduction. He has another 
farm of two acres or so, which he holds from the same 
landlord on a grazing lease, for three pounds and ten 
shillings. The rent has not been reduced for twenty 
years, and the holding is not within the Land Act. For 
a third plot he pays eight pounds, which has been re- 
duced from eleven. Part of the home farm is often 
flooded by the tide, and after the passage of the Land 
Act the landlord for the first time claimed the black- 
weed, which grows between high- and low-water mark, as 
well as what washes against the sea wall. " I keep three 
cows and four or five calves," he said, " besides a mare 
and a foal. I grow turnips, potatoes, and mangels. The 
potatoes are below the average, and the turnips and 
mangels have failed entirely. I am sure I won't make 
any rent this year." The black-weed, according to 
Hickey, had always been considered the property of the 
tenant ; and the drift-weed, which the landlords have gen- 
erally claimed, Hickey argued was really public property. 
The way the landlords deprive the tenants of the sea- 
weed is by closing the roads to the shore. " The land- 
lords have so many ways of getting round any law, they 
will outflank you," he sighed, " in spite of the Devil." 

Here is Edward Toole's holding. He has ten acres. 
The rent has been reduced by agreement out of court 
from fourteen to twelve pounds. The poor-rate is thirty 
shillings, and the taxes eighteen shillings, due twice a 
year. The house, a two-storied granite house, was built 


by Costello, Mrs. Toole's father. A little bit of land a 
quarter of an acre, they were manuring with sea- weed for 
a potato patch, but in the whole field there did not seem 
to be four square yards free from large stones or rock. 

We were now passing the Furbough National School, a 
neat stone building like all the frequent schoolhouses in 
this part of the country, and there we took up John R. 
Curtin, the schoolmaster. " Generally," he said, " the 
children in Ireland leave school about the lower-fifth 
form, and many in the country from the third and fourth 
forms, when they are thirteen or fourteen years old. 
What they know then is not much, and is soon forgotten. 
The attendance in the country is not apt to be con- 
tinuous after the age of seven. The busy seasons are 
spring, summer, and early autumn, for there 's turf- 
cutting in summer, sea-weed gathering in spring, and then 
the harvest, and at these times all except the very young 
children are off. 

" We schoolmasters want to get ( compulsory educa- 
tion,' but this is barred by the religious difficulty. 

" If the children could be kept at school till they had 
passed through the senior grade of the sixth form, they 
would be competent to fill a clerical position anywhere. 
But even the standard of the lower fifth is high enough 
for practical purposes. In English, they have to be 
familiar with the fifth-standard reader, though in an Irish- 
speaking community like ours this hope is seldom real- 
ized ; in book-keeping, they go as far as double entry, 
cash accounts, and personal accounts ; in geography, they 
have to know well the geography of Ireland, the map of 
Europe, and the outlines of the continents ; in agricul- 
ture, which is taught in the rural schools, we study the 
natures of the crops, the mode of cultivation, and some- 


thing about the chemistry of the soil. If we only had a 
little garden attached to the schoolhouse, for purposes of 
practical illustration, this course would be of the greatest 

As twilight came on, these newly found friends left 
me, after quoting to my amusement a Celtic curse, com- 
mon among the people, who, many of them, still believe 
in the " evil eye " : " May the eye of an evil man never 
rest on you, nor the eye of the dearly beloved Son of 
God ! " 

A few miles beyond Spiddal, a squalid little fishing 
village, I called on the parish priest, Father Hosty. 
"That wretched land," said he, pointing to a neighbor- 
ing field, " is measured without counting the stones, and, 
till lately, was paying thirty shillings an acre. It is now 
held under judicial leases for from ten to twenty shil- 
lings. One reason for the high rent is, that the right to 
the sea-weed is included. 

" Oats are a perfect failure this year, but, fortunately, 
the potatoes are fair. There is nothing between the 
people and a famine but those little bulbs. 

" I would n't call this place of mine ' a congested 
district,' because there is plenty of room, and the people 
could live well enough by fishing. There is, however, 
no fishing here at all, for there are no boats, and no nets. 
The fish in the bay are caught chiefly by a company 
which sends them direct to Dublin. 

" These houses are very poor-looking, but the people 
are quite contented, and are willing enough to go on 
living on potatoes. They don't care to go to America, 
though we never say a word to dissuade them." 

He took me into the school near by, and I heard the 
barefooted children, boys and girls, but the girls best, 


read beautifully, and parse well. "Along this road," 
continued the good father, " you will find as fine schools 
as there are anywhere. The younger generation are 
better educated and more independent than the old, and 
can take their place with any people in the world." 

Near Castlerea, the keeper of the public-house, one 
Taylor, joined me and piloted me across a boggy moun- 
tain to the main road. " I have been many years in 
America," he said, " and find nowhere more liberty than 
here. The rent is not the main thing ; the rent is not 
so much, the taxes will soon be more, and, since this 
agitation began, the taxes have risen enormously. 

" I have a piece of land for which no rent has been 
paid for seven years. The previous tenant went to 
America, and then a man came in who sublet half to me. 
I paid him one year's rent, and won't pay him any more 
till he pays the landlord. 

" The League, in my opinion, has ruined twenty to one 
whom it has benefited. How many has it driven away 
who might have been in their little houses to-day ? If 
we are once put out of a place we cannot get another, 
and cannot get the smallest room in a village without 
paying rent for it. 

" I see as much privilege and liberty in Ireland as ever 
I saw anywhere, and I have been sixteen years in Amer- 
ica. The League may have done some good in other 
parts of the country, but they have done none in Galway. 

" I tell you the farmers will always have to work them- 
selves and cannot employ many laborers, but I knew 
landlords who used to employ as many as fifty or a hun- 
dred laborers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and harness- 
makers, but they cannot afford to do so now. 

" The poorest people, the laborers, are the sufferers by 


the agitation, and even under Home Rule the rich will 
be the best off, but the poorest will be just as poor." 

Miles and miles the road continued bounded by bogs 
on either side ; not a soul, not a beast was to be seen. 
Not even a dwelling of any sort was visible, till Scrieb 
Lodge came in sight, a fishing lodge, — a deserted-look- 
ing square white house by the side of a wide, straggling 
morass, dotted with peaty islands, and encircled by low 
brown hills, with the jagged Connemara "Twelve Pins " 
in the distance. It recalled the dismal horrors of the 
" Fall of the House of Usher," and I hurried on as the 
evening was closing in quickly. 

From time to time I knocked at a cottage, to ask 
leave to spend the night, but I was either refused or un- 
able to make myself understood ; in two of the cottages 
the cows were in the kitchen. At last I found an inn, 
where a couple of constables sat and talked till midnight. 
"We don't trouble ourselves about Home Rule," they 
remarked, " for we shall then be surely pensioned off. 
As to the poverty of the people, that is greatly exaggera- 
ted. You often see a man living in a hut like a cow-shed, 
and find that he has two or three hundred pounds in the 
bank. These habits have come down from earlier times." 

The next day a barefooted man, in a red-knitted cap, 
started me on the road to Cashel. He has a small farm. 
" The rent is fair, the oats is all dried up, but the pota- 
toes are good, and that 's the main thing." 

Two men, a woman, and a boy passed me, carrying 
enormous bales of hay on their backs, and, later, the 
cart of a Galway trader, who furnishes the people with 
groceries, taking eggs in payment. Near a tiny hamlet a 
couple of laborers, sitting smoking on a rock, asked for 
news, saying there was a report that a head constable 


had been shot at Lisdoonvarna. In a cottage on a 
mountain side at Shanadonel, I got some milk and eggs. 
Joyce, his mother, and four children were in the kitchen, 
all barefooted, occasionally tickling with their toes the 
pigs that were playing with " a little cur dog " and two 
cats on the earthen floor. The only furniture consisted 
of a rough wooden table, a couple of home-made chairs, 
and two pictures on the wall, supplements of old Christ- 
mas Graphics. Joyce owns a hundred or more acres, 
how many he does n't know, and pays twelve pounds for 
it. This is too much, he thought. " If we had a good 
land bill," said he, " we would not care about Home 
Rule. Our people ask for much more than they expect 
to get." 

Along a path invisible to my eyes, he led me across 
several miles of bogs. A stone here, a footprint there 
were all the signs of travel. We sank frequently ankle- 
deep, but Joyce, like a satyr, leaped on before, and with 
his bare toes seizing the bog, shook the mountain side 
while he shouted : " Don't fear ; it is quite firm and 
strong." Along this path he has driven cattle to Galway 
fair, more than forty miles' distance. Such are some of 
the inconveniences of life in central Galway. 

The village of Cashel seemed to consist of a barracks, 
a national school, and a public-house. The keeper of 
the latter is Mr. J. J. O'Loghlen, a poor-law guardian. 
This is in the notorious Clifden Union, one of the six 
bankrupt unions which Mr. Morley, when in office, tried 
to relieve by a grant of money, and succeeded only in 
plunging into deeper debt. " The poor-rate here," said 
O'Loghlen, " is very high — four shillings in the pound. 
My valuation is ninety pounds, and I pay twenty pounds' 
poor-rate. One reason is, that so many of our people 


have gone to America, leaving behind them the poor old 
people, who stick to their homes long after they have 
ceased to make them pay. 

" Two old men died here a few days ago who had 
been for several years receiving out-door relief, and the 
Union had to pay ten shillings for each funeral. One, 
Colroy, had a son who was a captain of one of the Black 
Ball ships, sailing to Australia, which was lost at sea a 
few years ago with all on board. The other old man saw 
his children go away to all parts of the world, and they 
never sent him back a penny. 

" There are too many doctors employed by the Unions, 
five here where two would do, and we have to keep a 
doctor in Innisbofin Island, which owes us now over five 
hundred pounds, for we cannot collect any rates from 
the people. 

" In the matter of rents we are not so badly off as 
many places, and there is here no disturbance ; but the 
land is not worth a farthing an acre. Payment is made 
for the land by the holding and not by the acreage. So 
I don't know how much I have. 

" The landlord, Mr. R. Berridge, lives in London, and 
leaves every thing to the discretion of his agent, Robin- 
son, who has a bad name but is not a bad man. Many 
people have been evicted at different times, but they are 
all living on their holdings as caretakers." 

" It is through the shopkeepers giving credit to the 
people that the landlords are able to get in their rents. 
But for the system of credit there would be no one in 
this part of the country. I often have out ^£2,000 in one 
year, but I get no credit myself from the merchants. I 
have been owed some ^"1,400 for the last six or seven 
years, and if I can get half that I shall be happy, and 


would take any thing they can give me, a horse, a cow, a 
pig, or any thing. 

" The people are also largely supported by American 
money. About Christmas time I have often had given 
me to cash a hundred checks on Boston and New 

" If we had employment," was his conclusion, " that 
would be the only kind of Home Rule we should 

In the evening I found myself still far from Clifden in 
a heavy rain, so I asked at a little cabin by the roadside 
for hospitality, and was welcomed cordially. There was 
only a kitchen and one room. In the kitchen were a 
cow, a calf, a dog, three or four hens and a cock fhitter- 
tering noisily about, and in a corner a coop full of 
chickens. Here I slept on the ground near the ashes of 
the glowing peat fire ; and in the other room slept the 
family — father and mother, two girls, and a boy. The 
silence of the night was broken from time to time by the 
thud and splash of dung on the mud floor, and the crow- 
ing and clatter of the fowls woke me early. There was 
one chair, one bench, and several boxes to sit on, but no 
table ; and some rude harness hanging from pegs on the 
wall was the only ornament. " Michael, rise up ! " shouted 
a man's voice, about seven o'clock, and a boot, as it 
seemed, struck violently against the wooden partition. 
Michael lounged in and rekindled the peat fire from the 
dying embers. In a few minutes in came his mother, 
and milked the cow in front of the fire into a series of 
dirty-looking little tin pots, that reminded me of old 
tomato cans. She then fed the calf on some milk and 
raw potatoes, and in a little time gave me a cup of excel- 
lent tea and a piece of potato bread. 



Clifden is a town of some seven hundred inhabitants 
on an inlet of the sea. A graceful bridge spans a water- 
course yellow-brown with sea-weed, famous for salmon, 
and along the hillside beyond it are two streets of 
thatched houses. 

There is but one small industry in Clifden — the carv- 
ing of the beautiful Connemara marble, by Alexander 
McDonnell and his son. The intelligent, kindly old 
Scotchman expressed in a word the cause of the people's 
discontent when he said : " We are shut up here as in a 
prison, and the wealth of the country is, as it were, locked 
up behind iron bars. Sometimes for weeks we are with- 
out meal, for it is too expensive to cart it from Galway, 
and the little boats are apt to be detained by bad weather. 
The kelp the people gather a few miles off they send by 
cart twenty miles to an agent at Cashel, who ships it to 
Galway. On Saturday, at the fish-market, the fish had to 
be salted to keep it, and all but two small baskets of fine 
lobsters had to be thrown into the sea. There are hun- 
dreds of millions of tons of the best marble in the world 
in the Twelve .Pins, but the people cannot get at it. 

" I want Home Rule, because an Irish Parliament 
would spend public money wisely and without so much 
waste. We need a railroad from Galway to Clifden to 
open up the country. Then Clifden would double in 
a year or two, and the people would not have to run away 
to Scotland or England to earn a little money to keep 
their homesteads. The people have not the gear nor the 
boats for fishing. Money for this purpose should be lent 
by the government. The imperial Parliament misman- 
ages such matters. The government is now spending 
some ;£io,ooo on a quay a few miles away, and they 


might just as well throw the money into the sea. They 
advanced money to the Unions, but charity and distribu- 
tion of relief only demoralize the people." 

The catholic curate, Father Biggins, was not an enthu- 
siastic Home Ruler. " It is hard to see," he said, " how 
Home Rule could improve the condition of this part of 
the country, for under any form of government the peo- 
ple cannot be well off so long as they depend on their 
little holdings. The rent is very little, £4 or ^5, and 
if you made them a present of it, it would n't make 
them a bit more comfortable. They have n't land 
enough. All the best land is in the hands of graziers 
and large farmers. Divide the grazing lands among the 
dwellers on little patches on the coast ; they would pay 
more than the graziers do, and that is the one thing that 
would do them any good. 

" The chief benefit Home Rule could do would be to 
encourage the fisheries and to open up the country. It 
costs a jobber too much to come here to buy, and a man 
cannot drive cattle to a railroad forty or fifty miles off 
and have them in good condition. 

" The tenants have not generally got the benefit of the 
Land Act, partly because of their subletting, and partly 
because so many accepted the landlords' terms. Mr. 
Robinson's offer of four shillings in the pound to Mr. 
Berridge's tenants was generally taken, and the people 
were at first delighted, but those who went into court got 
often as much as ten shillings in the pound. 

" The rents have been paid about here as well as ever. 
Hazell, the agent of a Scotch company, living at Cashel, 
has paid eight thousand pounds for kelp this year. That 
helps the people a lot and pays the rent. 

" The bankruptcy of the Union is due to the low 
rating. Then, when the forty thousand pounds were 


given last year for the relief of distress, the local guar- 
dians lost their heads and said to themselves : * If we 
don't give some relief at once the money will be all 
spent.' So this year the rates will be eight shillings in 
the pound, including special rates to meet the surplus 
expended in excess of the government's grant. The only 
remedy is to amalgamate two or three Unions with a 
single common staff." 

Father Linsky, the parish priest, is a man of wonder- 
ful energy. '" I got from Mr. Kendall," he said, " five 
shillings in the pound reduction on all rents not judicial 
and three shillings on judicial rents, and this through no 
agitation except my personal efforts, though I have the 
National League here in my hand. 

" In this parish I urged the tenants to go into court, 
and I filled in the notices myself and appeared in court 
for many of them who were too poor to pay costs. On 
an average I got six shillings and eight pence reduction 
in the pound. 

" So far as it goes, the new Land Act is of great value. 
What is of particular benefit is that the commissioners 
will adjudicate the rents on the basis of prices without 
expense to landlord or tenant. 

"As a rule, rents settled out of court are not settled 
fairly. At Beeleek and Fahy, on Mrs. Sufneld's prop- 
erty, the rents were settled out of court at a very small 
reduction. The tenants protested, but paid, with my con- 
sent, for I found them too poor to fight, so poor that they 
don't care to come to church on Sunday because of their 
ragged clothes. There are only some twenty tenants, 
and so heavily is the estate encumbered that the land- 
lord's interest does n't exceed sixty or seventy pounds. 

" The people here are simple-minded. Captain Thomp- 
son's tenants agreed to buy their holdings at twenty 


years' purchase, but the sale fell through, because one 
man refused, on the recommendation of the parish priest, 
who thought the land worth not over eight years' pur- 
chase. When the tenants were asked by the priest why 
they agreed to give such an extraordinary sum, ' Well,' 
they said, ' we thought we would serve Captain Thomp- 
son without doing ourselves any harm.' " 

In the large beautiful church a series of missionary 
services was being held. Thousands listened with awe 
to a lurid sermon on hell by a Dominican friar. " Every 
sinner makes his bed at the gates of hell." " One spark 
of hell fire would turn the ocean to steam." These sen- 
tences rang out clearly in the intense silence of the 
hushed congregation. The same voice sounded much 
sweeter in Father Linsky's dining-room, where we assem- 
bled in the evening to discuss peasant proprietorship. 
" A peasant proprietary," it was said, " would be a suc- 
cess. In France, Belgium, Prussia, and a large part of 
Russia a similar measure had worked well and not ended 
in a restoration of landlordism. Why should Ireland 
prove an exception ? 

" Land scrip, with a local guaranty, would be depre- 
ciated at once, as all paper is which is not secured by 
property easily realizable. Let the imperial government 
advance the purchase money, in the same way as it now 
makes loans to fishermen. Ireland can never be sepa- 
rated from England, and whatever our local government 
may be, the imperial government will always be able to 
exact repayment. The government must come in, for 
the landlords, after they cease to be landlords, can never 
collect payments, and no one else will be in a position 
to do so for them. Will the action of the government 
be resented ? Not at all. The collectors of taxes and 


other government officials are not odious. Indeed, the 
gentleman here who is collecting from the fishermen 
repayments of government money is very popular. There 
are just men here. Under the Glebe Loan Act not ^500 
out of ^250,000 are outstanding as bad debts. The 
payments of the fishery loan and under Lord Ashbourne's 
Act tell the same story. Those who wish to keep the 
land for nothing are madmen. 

" Subdivision has been frequent in the west, largely 
because the landlords were needy and got something for 
the subdivision, — an increased rent or a fine, — an obolus 
of some sort. 

" Finally, it is said that a few pounds' rent remitted to 
a small tenant would not help him. Suppose I get a re- 
duction of four pounds ; I buy pigs ; half an acre of 
turnips out of my six or seven acres will feed them ; the 
pigs cost me a pound apiece, and at the end of six months 
they sell for four pounds. The rent saved will be a little 
capital, and will soon multiply itself." 

I visited Mr. King, a farmer at Fahy, who acts as Mrs. 
Suffield's agent. He has five acres, for which he pays 
four pounds sixteen shillings. He has also commonage 
of a mountain and " a strip of the weed " on the shore, 
which he uses for manure. His house was built by his 
father. He has one acre in potatoes, one in oats, and the 
rest grazing. He has no horse now and only one cow. 
u I am not in arrears," he said, "but should be if I had 
not the agency of the property. My rent is a fair sample 
of the others. We all settled outside the court for 25 per 
cent, reduction, and thought that reasonable enough at the 
time. But prices have been growing steadily worse since 
then, and I don't think the land is now worth the rent. 
The farmers here don't expect to get the land for noth- 


ing, they only want a fair price. They are all for Home 
Rule, but don't know much about it. They think it will 
mean employment and the circulation of money, but how 
no one knows. There used to be a local branch of the 
League here, but it has died out. 

" After a Land-Purchase Act what the farmers need 
most is loans of money on easy terms. Perhaps, the im- 
perial Parliament would have more money to loan than 
a Home-Rule Parliament. 

" The farmers are very poor and much in debt. They 
have gone security for one another to the banks, borrow- 
ing eight or ten pounds, on which there is charged two 
shillings a pound interest, and renewing their notes every 
three months. The shopkeepers in Clifden have given a 
great deal of credit and won't get much of it back. They 
also give them ' loan money ' for which they charge 
twenty per cent, interest." 

It happened to be market day in Clifden, and in 
Casey's drapery and spirit shop a little circle of farmers 
sat and talked. Every one agreed that the crops were ex- 
ceptionably poor. " The potato crop is very good, hay is 
very light, turnips are a complete failure, and oats have 
never been known to be so bad in Connemara." 

James Casey, a grazier, came in. He has a tillage 
farm of about a hundred and twenty acres, which he 
holds under a perpetuity lease for twenty pounds a year. 
" Some of it is bog, not worth sixpence an acre, and for 
some I would n't take three pounds an acre. I have also 
some two thousand acres of land, one farm at a pound and 
another at sixteen shillings an acre. These are not with- 
in the ' Land Act,' and for some I have to pay in advance. 

" I have been four years fighting with this depression, 
and am now giving up, as I am losing money. A few 


weeks ago I brought forty or fifty bullocks and heifers to 
a large fair near here. I have got twelve and thirteen 
pounds for worse stock, and was not offered a shilling 
for one of them. 

" I belonged to the National League at first, but as 
soon as it seemed to be turning into an anti-rent move- 
ment I dropped out, for it would n't do for me to run the 
risk of losing my farms." 

"The people ought to emigrate," said another. "I 
have circumnavigated the globe, but the people here 
think there 's no world beyond Clifden." 

The master of the workhouse came in. " I was an 
anti-Home Ruler till lately, but now believe in it. 

" Its principal benefit would be to encourage our na- 
tive industries. We could put a duty on English shoddy. 
In Westport, next door to where I went to school, there 
used to be a distillery, and near by rope walks, and four 
tan yards at full work. All are gone now. 

" If capital is needed for this, there 's the Irish National 
Bank with two millions of Irish savings in its vaults. 

" We would do away with all but a thousand of the 
fourteen thousand Irish Constabulary and save nearly a 
million pounds in this single item ; and safely too, for 
satisfied with our own laws, we could become our own 

" The workhouses should be got rid of. Children 
under fifteen should be boarded out, and old people left 
with their friends and given an allowance." 

I asked whether the Clifden Union had not been ruined 
by excessive out-door relief. " The people," he said 
" were demoralized by relief. Some years ago there was 
'Jumperism.' People from England started 'Jumper 
Schools ' in behalf of the Irish Church mission, and all 


who attended got so much a week. In 1879 and 1880 
there was a cry of destitution when there was but little, 
and the government came to the people's relief. In 1886 
there was another cry, and Morley got a large grant 
passed, which was shamefully abused." (All present 
assented.) " This was the fault of the local authorities, 
who gave money to people not destitute, and neglected 
any remunerative labor test. The money would have 
relieved the distress, and yet now we are over four thou- 
sand pounds in debt. 

" Peasant proprietorship I believe in, and don't think 
the evils of the present will recur. I am my own land- 
lord now and have two children. I shall not divide my 
land between them, but will act like a Massachusetts 
farmer and send one or both of them away from home. 
Others will do likewise." 

There was a noise outside, and we joined a delighted 
crowd that surrounded a juggler, in bright-red tights, 
who devoured hot pokers and let the farmers crack 
enormous stones on his chest. He took up a collection 
that amounted to nearly three pounds ! 

In the hotel, a somewhat mysterious stranger appeared 
in the commercial room, whom I took to be a land 

" These Nationalist Unions," he began, " are misera- 
bly mismanaged ; I know more than I care to tell about 
the Tulla Union in County Clare. The ex-officio guar- 
dians have lost control of the management and the chair- 
man is a small farmer holding some twenty acres. The 
property of the Union has been seized for debt. The 
number of laborers' cottages there is enormous, most of 
them built only to spite the landlords. 

" Here in Clifden the people have been accustomed to 


hand-to-mouth relief, and that has not improved their 

" The rents may seem excessive, but these men along 
the coast who complain so bitterly don't pay more than 
an ordinary laborer pays in this very village, a shilling a 
week at most ; and for that they have three or four acres, 
pigs, corn and potatoes, a right to cut as much fuel as 
they want, and often sea-weed for manure free. But this, 
of course, won't support a man with nine or ten children. 
These people, too, are merely laborers. In Mayo and 
Donegal they go every year to England and Scotland as 
harvesters. In Galway and here they are fishermen. In 
Carrarhoe the principal means of subsistence is making 
poteen whiskey. 

" No land legislation can materially help such people. 
I know well an estate now in chancery, where the ten- 
ants have paid no rent for seven or eight years. They 
are the poorest people in the neighborhood. If they 
owned the farms it might make them more prudent, but 
I doubt it, for there are no natural habits of thrift among 
the people. 

" Home Rule I cannot believe in, for the doings of the 
Tulla Union show me that the people cannot yet be 


County Mayo was the birthplace of the Land League, 
and in Westport a somewhat extreme position was rather 
concisely stated by a leader of the early movement. " The 
rights of the landlords are not to be acknowledged, for 
their titles are bad. The grants to the planters of the 
north of Ireland required them to provide so many 
soldiers each. When a standing army was established 


these deeds became void. The land belongs to the peo- 
ple, and can be taken up by them whenever it is expedi- 
ent, with or without compensation. The property of the 
landlords was confiscated in part by the Land Act of 
1881, which gave leases for a period of fifteen years at 
rents fixed by a court, and took from the landlords their 
right of resumption. That principle can be indefinitely 

" It is a question of expediency, not of justice. Justice 
is a vague word, an eighteenth-century theory, and ap- 
peals to you as a Bostonian and a reader of Herbert 

I suggested that the American Constitution prohibited 
the taking of private property for public use without 
compensation, and that a written constitution with such 
a clause might be wisely accepted by Irish Nationalists. 
His answer was a surprise. " America had three million 
inhabitants when the Constitution was adopted ; it has 
now fifty million. Is it just that fifty millions should be 
governed by three millions, and those of a deceased gen- 
eration ? It is unwise to tie the hands of posterity. It 
was so decided at the institution of the present French 
Republic. I should oppose a written constitution for 

" If the Irish in America," he said again, " had joined 
the Republican party, the Irish question would have 
already become an international question. Egan could 
not turn them at the last election, but never will they 
vote again for an anti-Irish friend of England, such 
as Cleveland." It was perhaps characteristic of some 
phases of Irish thought that the gentleman characterized 
Sir William Harcourt as " a — useful scoundrel." 

Similar opinions were expressed in Sligo by P. A. 


M'Hugh, editor of the Sligo Sentinel and president of the 
local branch of the League. 

" There is a great lack of bitterness here, due as much 
to the character of the landlords as to the apathy of the 
people. The landlords here have been exceptionally 

" Mr. Phibbs is fighting the ' plan ' with success, for 
the leaders and the clergy have found it impossible to 
prevent many of the tenants from paying their rent. So 
many of these cowards were there that no attempt has 
been made to boycott them. But a few farms on the 
estate from which tenants have been evicted have been 
kept vacant for several years, and if Phibbs tried to stock 
them, injury would probably be inflicted on the cattle 
and their caretakers. To keep an ' evicted ' farm vacant 
is one of the strongest arguments we can use, and any one 
who takes such a farm is regarded as a common enemy 
and cut off from all communication with the people. The 
Times has reprinted with comments some of the boy- 
cotting resolutions printed in my paper, and we admit the 
charge of intimidation and intending to intimidate. We 
say this is the only efficient instrument left to the League. 

" Michael Coffey, in Gurteen, took a farm from which a 
Mr. McDermott had been evicted. He has been boy- 
cotted for two years and his business, that of a spirit- 
grocery, ruined. His children have not been allowed to 
attend school. No man speaks to them. He is think- 
ing of removing. For using intimidatory language against 
Coffey I was prosecuted at Petty Sessions, but the bench 
was equally divided. The local magistrates were against 
me, but two of the judges were personal friends of my 
own, and one, Mr. Tigh, went down from this town to 
sit there to prevent my conviction. 


" Personally, I don't think any eviction could be just, 
for I don't recognize the landlord's title at all. 

" As to Land Purchase, the people are not prepared to 
adopt such a scheme till advised to do . so by their lead- 
ers. The price of land is going down steadily ; the 
longer the farmers hold off, the better it will be for 
them, and the worse for the landlords. That is shown 
by the willingness of the landlords to adopt Archbishop 
Walsh's plan of a ' round-table conference.' The sug- 
gestion was a mistake. It would be an unnecessary ad- 
mission of a right. Until the Irish land question can 
be settled by an Irish Parliament, no other plan should 
be adopted for getting justice from the landlords save 
the 'plan of campaign.' If, again, the landlords wait till 
the English democracy settle the Irish land question, 
they will be worse off than ever, for the opinion is daily 
growing stronger that the landlords have no claim to rent 
or to compensation for the loss of it, and that a free 
ticket to Holyhead is the most that any of them de- 

" There is practical unanimity in favor of Home Rule 
in this part of the country, except among the Conserva- 
tives, and the difference between Nationalist and Con- 
servative here is practically the difference between 
Catholic and Protestant. 

" Home Rule will come soon, and I think a little more 
' physical force ' will hasten it, like that of the black- 
thorns at Mitchelstown or of something stronger." 

Mr. M'Hugh, according, to the statement of a Protes- 
tant and conservative tradesman in Sligo, is " an educated 
and influential man ; he is the mouthpiece of thousands, 
and there is no other prominent spokesman here of the 
Nationalist party." 



The parish priest at Westport, Father Begley, was a 
man of moderate but decided views. " There is a great 
lack of money in this part of the country. But for the 
collection made a year ago by Mr. Tuke for seed, there 
would have been great distress here. I gave seed to over 
five hundred people in this parish. 

" The landlords, this year, did not look after the 
people. In this parish Lord Sligo forgave the rent to 
many poor people, but made no general reduction. Lord 
Lucan and Sir Roger Palmer did nothing for us. 

"Potatoes are good this year, and there is no danger 
of starvation ; but there is no sale for cattle and corn, 
and I don't see how rents are to be paid. 

" Home Rule would help us, for the different locali- 
ties would be represented by men who know their needs. 
Here you have congested districts and a vast amount of 
unreclaimed lands. Lord Lucan on one estate has some 
fifteen hundred acres, nominally grazing or demesne 
land, all uncultivated. If this and similar land were 
divided among the small farmers so as to give them fifty 
acres apiece instead of ten, they will be more prosperous 
and the shops will prosper and Westport will become 
twice the town it is. A Home-Rule Parliament would 
promote migration and distribution of land. 

"It would also encourage factories." 

There used to be home industries, I remarked, which 
have now died out. 

" Yes," he replied, " clothes they used to make at home, 
but now it is cheaper for them to buy at the shops. Pro- 
tection," he added, " I do not believe in." 

A landlord, a most liberal-minded man, suggested 
some points that are often not considered. 


" The country may be purely agricultural, but the in- 
habitants need not be, for they may share in all the mer- 
cantile work of England. You can go from Westport to 
Manchester for eight shillings and sixpence, and from 
Sligo by sailing vessel for four shillings. It is as easy to 
go from here to Yorkshire as it is from Kent. Some 
years ago I had a man here whom I employed with a 
horse and cart during the winter, while during the sum- 
mer he used to work in England. I helped him off to 
Scotland with his people. In two years he was back 
again. He said he had to pay so much for lodging, board, 
and coals, that he found himself better off here earning 
seven shillings a week than in Scotland at fourteen shil- 
lings, and that he made more going there every summer 
than staying there all the time. 

" You speak of the condition of Ireland as peculiar ; 
that the tenants have no resources but the land, and can- 
not protect themselves in any bargain with the landlords. 
That may be so, but how does that apply to the large 
farmers, who must have a large working capital ? These 
men are shrewd and as able to take care of themselves as 
any people in the world, yet the government fixes their 
rents. One of the earliest cases in court was that of a 
man in the centre of Ireland who was paying ^800 a 
year, and he got his rent reduced to a little over J~6oo. 

" Under the Land Acts a tenant now can do what he 
likes. A place called Thornhill, between Westport and 
Lewisburg, was let by Lord Sligo to a friend, a Mr. 
Garvey, in the Board of Guardians. The property was 
let for ^55 a year, the valuation being £91, and under a 
twenty-one-year lease. On its expiration the widow of 
Garvey went into court and got a fair rent fixed at 
£6y 10s. Lord Sligo appealed, and though their valuer 


valued the land at ^90, the Commissioners fixed the 
rent at ^75. No claims were made for improvements. 
For many years Mr. Garvey was unable to stock the 
farm, and farmed it only by conacreing it and by taking 
in grazing cattle. A farm has seldom been so ill-treated. 
Mrs. Garvey again got into arrears, and finally gave up 
the farm to Lord Sligo. It is now let to two solvent ten- 
ants in common for ^100, and they pay and prosper. 

" There is no trade or profession in the world, but 
some people break down in it ; a fortiori, there must be 
many break-downs where the people are poor and de- 
pendent on the changes of a cold, northerly climate. 
Since 1879, a bad year, the evictions have been few in 
comparison with the number of broken-down tenants. 
Before that, when a tenant broke down, the landlord 
often gave him some assistance to go, and allowed him, 
as a very general indulgence, to sell the good-will of his 
holding. The neighbors, who generally bought, were bet- 
ter off, and the evicted tenant got on well in America 
when he could n't here. These broken-down tenants 
are now accumulating ; and the League does not let them 

" If there were no question of eviction, the broken- 
down men would remain, without paying any rent, with- 
out selling, and in poverty ; so if they are to go and try 
to mend themselves in another business or on a smaller 
farm, the first move must be made by the landlord. 

" Things have come to such a pass now that peasant 
proprietorship is to be desired. It is, however, a ques- 
tion of great intricacy. What is the price to be ? How 
is it to be paid, in cash, or notes, or a promise with 
security, or a promise that will never be kept ? If you 
speak of a county or local guaranty, I should refuse to 


sell, for I have some chance of getting a little money if I 
hold the land, but I shall certainly get nothing from the 
county. You have no right to force a landlord to sell, 
unless he is to get cash, for otherwise you in no respect 
improve his condition. For a purchase scheme an ad- 
vance of money by the imperial government is essen- 
tial ; and a county guaranty, which to an individual 
would be worthless, would be effective when given to 
the government. It would require only an extension of 
methods already in practical use. In the case of loans 
for county buildings the government has the first claim 
on the rates before any officer receives his salary. Where 
money is borrowed for the purchase of seed, the local 
government board can impound the money wherever 
they find it. There is a system known as 'imperative 
presentments,' to secure the repayment of loans for the 
support of extra police. If there is any failure on the 
part of the local authorities to put on a levy to cover the 
charges, the judge of assize is bound to do so on the 
mere production of a government certificate that the 
amount is due. 

" A Land Purchase bill ought to precede a Home 
Rule bill, for it would interest the people in the main- 
tenance of law and order. In my opinion that would be 
the only possibility of Kome Rule succeeding. 

" The effect of any Land Purchase Bill will certainly be 
to ruin half in number, but not in valuation, of the pres- 
ent proprietors. In the case of small properties the owners' 
interests will be extinguished, for they are more deeply 
encumbered even than the large landlords. 

" Land Purchase is, however, necessary, for the Land 
Acts involve most of its disadvantages and few of its 
benefits. When property had its rights, it had its duties. 


I 9 I 

Now that the rights are abolished, the duties go with 
them. Lord Sligo will never come here again. He has 
shut up his stables and his garden. Few people of 
means live here now, for they cannot get the little enjoy- 
ments they used to." 

Mr. Richard Powell, Lord Sligo's agent, was little less 

" Almost universally the landlords will clear out, for 
the income from the purchase money will not keep up 
their places. I know many who would be ruined by 
twelve or even fourteen years' purchase. Only men 
like Lord Sligo, who have other resources, will be able 
to live here. The others will have to strike out for 
themselves in a new country ; and the old, the feeble, 
and the women will be very badly off. 

"It will be hard to raise money for 'land purchase.' 
Any local guaranty would probably have to be worked 
from the Unions, where you already have a clerk and a 
staff ; many of them are bankrupt now and ought to re- 
fuse to guarantee any thing except under compulsion. 
As a poor-law guardian myself, I should certainly refuse 
to sanction any guaranty." 

" Does n't this conclusion bring the whole matter to a 
deadlock ? " I asked in some perplexity. 

" Certainly," he replied. " That is what has staggered 
all the statesmen. 

" After a Land Purchase Act, something further would 
be required to stop the agitation for Home Rule. 

" Many people expect to get ' protection ' under Home 
Rule, but the English people will not give Ireland Home 
Rule if they think the result will be the boycotting of 
their own goods. 

" If Home Rule, like Gladstone's, were granted, I am 


convinced it would be followed by a movement for sepa- 
ration, and that by a repeal of Home Rule and a return 
to the present condition of things. 

" My relations with the tenants are friendly. I keep 
up a correspondence with many of them in America, 
and they tell me how they are getting on and ask for 

" From November to June last, there were more evic- 
tions in this neighborhood than I remember before in the 
same time, chiefly because on Colonel Clive's property at 
Ballycran there was a general strike against rent, but 
after the eviction they all paid up. In my own case from 
all I had ejectments against I took, as I always do, one 
half the rent due and gave a clear receipt, as all I want is 
to get them squared up. All but two are now in as care- 
takers. We leave them in as caretakers till they have 
saved their crops, and then, in three or four months, 
they have to go, but in the meantime a great many pay. 
I give the others then a few pounds and let them go. 

" I seldom have trouble with the people, but they are 
sometimes singular. I have known men with money 
enough to pay the rent, let themselves be evicted, and 
put up shanties by the side of the road and stick there. 

" Colonel O'Callaghan was a great exception to the 
general run of landlords, and I think that both he and 
Lord Clanricarde might have been juster and wiser if 
they had given a good reduction at first. The fact is 
that you cannot deal with the Irish people on business 
terms but must use considerable diplomacy." 

On the car between Ballina and Sligo, part of the way 
I sat next a gentleman who turned out to be a Methodist 
minister, born and bred in Ballina — an elderly man, with 
a quick, decisive manner. " The first thing the people 


have set before themselves is getting rid of the landlords, 
and the second is complete separation from England. 

" When the Land League was started, there were great 
positive grievances, though they were largely due to the 
great competition for land during the good times (1865 
to 1878) when men would offer the landlord or his agent 
double or treble the value of a farm even before it was 
vacant, and to refuse such offers would have been more 
than human. Now, there is no excuse for the agitation. 
It continues, however, and to-day throughout the great 
part of Ireland there is no liberty. I know many who have 
been coerced into joining the League, but they would be 
afraid to have their names known. 

" Look at the conduct of the trial of the police at 
Mitchelstown. Mr. Harrington called one witness a 
'murderer,' and forced him to state where he lived, in 
order, as he said, that the place where a murderer lived 
might be known to the public. And Mr. Harrington is 
one of the leaders of the party into whose hands I am 
asked to entrust my life, my liberty, and my character, 
and that of my family." 

"Will there be civil war," I asked, "if Home Rule is 
granted ?" 

" There will be no civil war — that is an exaggeration, — 
but great discontent." 

We were passing one of those enormous stone work- 
houses, that so often disfigure the most charming Irish 
landscapes. " That is now three quarters empty," was 
his comment. " These buildings were erected on a great 
scale throughout the country between the years 1845 an( ^ 
1850. The houses and the official staffs remain as large 
and expensive as ever, and eighty per cent, of the rates 
go to support them and not the poor. This is a fair 
ground for complaint." 


The minister got off at Temple Bar, and his place was 
soon taken by a stone-mason, a native of Colloony, a 
neighboring town. " I don't think Home Rule will do 
much good " said he. " There has been no employment 
for us since the agitation began. The landlords who used 
to give us work have no money, and the other party will 
never give us any. Sligo is full of workmen and trades- 
people who say the same thing, and yet Sligo is the best 
county in Ireland, and there is much harmony here be- 
tween landlords and tenants, and no crime." 

In the town the first shop I entered was a stationer's 
to buy a newspaper. The shopkeeper was a keen-eyed 
and sharp tongued old fellow. When very young he 
had been employed in Kerry on the coast survey, and 
had afterwards been for many years in the constabulary; 
a Protestant but not an Orangeman. " I know very many 
persons," he said, " who would never have joined the 
League if they were free subjects ; they were afraid of 
injury to their cattle or themselves. 

" The old farmers did not believe that the landlords 
could be forced to reduce their rents, and refused at first 
to join either the League or the ' Plan.' 

" I heard Sexton a few years ago address a meeting 
here, but it was only tall talk. The landlords, accord- 
ing to Sexton, had confiscated the property of the ten- 
ants ; their right to get any rent at all was very question- 
able, and, in any case, the rents had already amounted 
to the purchase value of the whole land ; in equity, then, 
the farmers might justly refuse to pay any rent and not 
excessive rents only. All this stuff went right down the 
throats of an uneducated and gullible people. 

" In talking about land purchase, I have often said 
that the purchase money would be advanced by the 


government, and have been answered, even by intelligent 
people, ' Ah, but it has been paid long ago.' 

" In 1882 I went down to County Leitrim on business. 
A widow there, Mrs. Moore, whose second husband had 
just died without children, wished to sell her farm, 
and join her only son in Boston. She had nine acres of 
very wet land. The poor-law valuation was ^10, and 
the rent had been reduced from ^13 to £\o \os. The 
tenant right of the farm brought ^"240, after deducting 
five per cent, for the auctioneer's fees and ^"io for a 
year's rent then due on it. 

" By the Land Act I think it must be admitted that 
the whole of Ireland has been thrown into a state of 
hocus-pocus confusion. 

" A majority of the people are in favor of Home Rule, 
and a very large majority of the shopkeepers, who are 
three quarters of them Catholics. There is, however, more 
toleration here than in most places, and we have a Pro- 
testant mayor and a Catholic majority in the corporation. 

" In the harbor there is a fair run of shipping, and 
steamers from Glasgow and Liverpool, for we supply the 
counties of Sligo, Roscommon, and Leitrim. A grant 
was given for a quay some time ago, but the money was 
lavished and the quay is left unfinished." 


The property of Lord Clancarty comprises some twenty- 
five thousand acres in and around Ballinasloe. The town 
itself is neat and thriving, with about five thousand in- 
habitants. Here there are no manufactures, but the 
annual fair of Ballinasloe is the most famous in Ireland. 
In the fat years of the seventies, in the early days of 
November, ninety thousand sheep and twenty thousand 


oxen were often penned in the extensive fair grounds. 
Now the opening of Connaught by the railroad, and the 
multiplication of fairs, has reduced the number to a 
third, but still the farmers swarm here from all parts of 
the country and for a week every bed in the town is 
taken at a pound a night. 

The late Lord Clancarty was a well-known philan- 
thropist. His son is obliged by ill health to spend much 
time on the Continent, but is generally in residence from 
October to February. In his absence the tenants are not 
neglected ; the labor bill never falls below fifty pounds 
a week, and the agent, Mr. Edward Fowler, represents 
the landlord on the Grand Jury, the Board of Guardians, 
the Board of the Asylum, and the Agricultural Society. 
Mr. Fowler was once a railroad engineer, and afterwards 
studied land agency under Mr. Trench. A tall, sturdy, 
handsome country gentleman, his frankness, impartiality, 
and fairness have won him the general respect of the 
people, and enabled him last year to defeat with ease the 
attempt to start the ' plan of campaign ' on the property 
near Loughrea. The tenants are now all paying their 
rents as well as ever, except, he said, " the bad lot under 
the influence of the agitators, and they won't pay even 
'judicial ' rents." 

A long drive with Mr. Fowler over the estate let me 
see the country as it looks through the spectacles of a 
land agent. For a few moments, perhaps, I can lend 
them to the reader. 

" There 's a substantial, two-story slated house. The 
man who lives there has only seven or eight acres ; it is 
fair land, but besides paying the rent he has been able 
to pay interest on ^150 he borrowed from the Board of 
Works to build the house. 


"This piece of land used to belong to an old Irish 
family. The last of the race walked out of the window 
in a fit of D. T., and the property was bought by Lord 
Clancarty. The tenants were given places elsewhere ; 
the land was thrown together, levelled, subsoiled, drained 
on high Scotch farming principles, and let to a Scotch 
grazier. The rent was lately reduced by the court to 
^120, on the ground that the buildings were too large 
for the property, and the tenants ought not to be charged 
full value for them. 

" This farm I let to an English tenant on English 
principles, building and mending myself, and I wish I 
could get more tenants of the same sort on the same 

" These are the best tenants about here. They are 
mostly Scotch or north of Ireland men, who came here 
when the weaving trade was brought into this part of the 
country during the last century." 

A young fellow passed us. " That is Armstrong, a fellow 
from Fermanagh. He and his father I brought here my- 
self, as I wanted them to teach the others how to farm. 

" All that flat valley was, for months in the year, a lake, 
and at other times too wet to shoot snipe in. Now the 
larger part has been drained by Lord Clancarty and let 
to that Fermanagh man. We made him an English ten- 
ant, slating his house for him and making other improve- 
ments, and now he has the place in splendid cultivation, 
and is going to break up more land next year. 

"Where those haycocks are was once a lake, marked on 
the ordnance maps ; the water is now six or seven feet 
below them, and the drainage was all done by me. 

" Six thousand five hundred pounds were borrowed by 
Lord Clancarty from the Board of Works for main drain- 


age and roads, exclusively for the benefit of the tenants ; 
and nearly all these tenants whose lands we improved 
have gone into court and got from ten to fifteen per 
cent, reduction. As it is we are paying over ^"300 a year 
interest and don't get a penny of it from the tenants. 
Indeed, on about five farms the rents have been reduced 
to below what they were before we drained them. Prac- 
tically, the result of the Land Acts has been to stop all im- 
provements by the landlords, and in future every thing 
will have to be done by the tenants and will not be done 
as well. Then, too, till 1881 we commonly gave the 
tenants timber and slate for building ; but that also we 
had to stop so soon as the government began legislating 
our property away from us. If we could have foreseen 
what has happened, our best plan would have been to 
take up the land from the tenants twenty years ago, im- 
prove it ourselves and let it now on judicial leases. 

" This is the Manor Mill. It was let with twenty 
acres on lease at thirty-seven pounds a year. When the 
lease fell in, the rent was not raised, although meanwhile 
we had deepened the stream and drained the neighbor- 
hood at an expense of ^£600, besides making a new dam 
and altering the wheel from an overshot wheel to a low- 
breast one. The miller died before signing an agree- 
ment, as he had promised, authorizing us to make these 
changes for a consideration of ^150, the average profits 
for the time the mill had to be closed. His niece, Mrs. 
Sellors, refused our terms and brought an action against 
Lord Clancarty for ^2,000 damages for injury done to 
the mill and the watercourses, which experts swore were 
vastly improved. She swore she had nothing but the 
mill to live by, but got only ^150 and costs. The year 
after, she went into court about the land, and swore she 


lived by the land only, and the mill was worth nothing ; 
the sub-commissioners reduced the rent to ^27. I ap- 
pealed and got the rent reinstated at ^37, and last win- 
ter the mill did more work than for twenty years past. 

" Shanvolly, here, went into court with my permission. 
I thought he was too highly rented, but wished the 
reduction to be legally made. 

" In the neighborhood of this farm we spent ^"1,500 ; 
that sum has been almost a total loss. No interest was 
allowed the landlord by the court ; the rent was reduced 
from ^£42 3s. Sd. to ^38 10s.; the value of the tenant right 
was fixed at ^100 ; and the farm was sold at that with 
all our improvements." 

We came now to the farm of James Ryan, which Mr. 
Foster had come to revalue by request of the tenant. 
The sheds were dilapidated, with a tumble-down roof, 
and the house had most of the window panes broken and 
seemed deserted. At last Ryan appeared — a middle- 
aged man, with a pleasant, open face. " This farm," 
he said, "was taken in the bad times of '48 and '49, at 
£16 a year. Then ^8 was put on on account of the 
drainage undertaken by the landlord, and a lease for 
two lives was given to my father, who succeeded his 
uncle ; in due time he built this house," a substantial 
two-storied building, " and died over ninety years old." 
With another little farm Ryan has a hundred and forty 
acres. His father in his day made money and was able 
to buy land for his other children, but Ryan claims to 
have lost "some ^"1,000 since the bad times began in 
1879." He keeps very little stock — only four milch 
cows, two yearlings, and three calves ; and so far as I 
could see, he was a very indifferent farmer. The thistles 
looked as though they were cultivated intentionally, so 


thick were they, and so tall and stout. " Sometimes," he 
said, " I cut them, but most times not. When the cows 
get them in the hay they eat them just as greedily." The 
potato field was full of weeds, a sort of wild buckwheat. 
But, most characteristic of all, were the gates. A cart, 
with one wheel off, and some loose sticks, like an extem- 
tempore barricade, formed the gate of the road to the 
house, and a pile of stones surmounted by a branch of a 
tree, with bundles of furze stuffed in the interspaces, the 
gate to the field opposite. 

While Mr. Fowler was pacing the land, from time to 
time consulting his map, and prodding the earth with his 
stick, Ryan lingered and chatted. 

" Lord Clanricarde's property at Loughrea," said he, 
" is fair land, and I don't much believe in the Plan of 
Campaign there or anywhere. The best thing is for each 
man to make his own ' plan ' for himself. As to Lord 
Clancarty's property, in spite of the low prices, I would 
sooner put money into it than take it out. 

" If we are to have ' Land Purchase,' I believe in pay- 
ing a fair price for it. It is, however, very hard to de- 
termine the value of land. It is chiefly guesswork. If 
the purchase money is advanced by the government, they 
ought to charge us not more than two and a half per 
cent, interest, or it will be as hard for us to pay as the 
rent. Such a loan cannot be absolutely secured, for if 
the farmers don't pay and force is used, there will be a 
regular revolution." 

We drove back to Ballinasloe by a circuitous road, 
passing through one townland where no one has paid any 
rent for two years. Here lives a widow, Biddy Dolan. 
Her husband had been found many years ago in occupa- 
tion of a little hut on a strip of bog, two miles off. He 


was, probably, a squatter ; and as no holding was wanted 
there and the hut was an eyesore to the tidy agent, a high 
rent, jQ$ gs. was imposed on the five Irish acres, to drive 
the man out. 

" I want the woman to give the place up," said Fowler, 
"as I don't care to have such a wretched spot on the 
estate ; it is tumbling down, and not occupied for any 
purpose ; no rent has been paid for over two years and 
none ever will be." 

" Biddy," he called out, "Biddy, come here ! I want 
you to let me take up that place of yours down in the 
bog, and then Lord Clancarty will forgive you the ar- 
rears on it. Over eight pounds you owe us, and you 
know you can't pay it." 

" Shure, your Honor, I '11 keep it till I die, for half the 

" I don't think it would be wise for you to keep it for 

"Shure, your Honor," the son joined in, "the money 
all went for nothing. It was not able to produce enough 
to keep the house thatched." 

" I know it." 

" Give it to me for what your Honor thinks it is 
worth," cried Biddy. 

" I don't want any such tenancy on the property ; it is 
no ornament to the estate, and no benefit to you." 

" Lord Clancarty has had a lot of money for the 
place," said the son, " and it is not worth sixpence an 

" I honestly don't believe it is," the agent admitted. 

" My man had it ; and I won't give it up till the Lord 
calls me." 

" You will never make a pound off it." 


" I know I won't, but I am tight for land here, and 
shure I might feed a little baste on it." 

"You don't live on it," shouted the agent as a parting 
shot. "You do nothing with it ; it would n't feed a rat ; 
it is a mere strip of snipe bog, and the roof has fallen in. 
But if you are unreasonable the sheriff will have to see 
to it." 

" It would cost us -£2 iexy.," he continued, turning to 
me, " to get a decree, and it would n't be worth that. 
I shall let it alone now, and report the matter : I don't 
want a person who does n't live on the estate keeping a 
claim there for the purpose sometime of raising a flame. 
I shall probably get a decree at Petty Sessions, and then, 
if she ever does put ' a little beast ' there I can seize it 
and bring her to terms." 

Half a mile farther on we passed a neat little house 
and farm. " Here is where Kelly lives, a very different 
sort of person from his next-door neighbor. An indus- 
trious man, he pays as much rent as the others, and is 
never behindhand, and yet has made money enough to 
buy more land. Killeen, the neighbor, has n't paid any 
thing for two years. 

" In the house opposite, there lives a great, big, brawl- 
ing fellow. He paid no rent, and in his cups used to 
say that if ever I came near him he would do something 
for me." The day I heard it, I went there. He came 
towards me with a reaping hook in his hand. I sat 
down on the side of the ditch and began to talk to him. 
Finally I said : * Now throw that thing down and shake 
hands.' He did so, said I was n't a bad fellow, promised 
to pay up, and kept his promise." 

Nearer Ballinasloe is a fine property of some three 
hundred acres, which Lord Clancarty purchased just 


before the Land Act of 1881, at the large price of 
^£i 1,000, about thirty years' purchase of the existing 
rental. " If he were selling this to the government to- 
day," said Mr. Foster, " he would probably not get over 
eighteen years' purchase at a pound an acre. See what 
utter ruin the government is bringing on the landlords. 
I have spent ^100 in levelling the fences and making a 
new drain on this land, and we wont let it to tenants ex- 
cept in conacre so as to keep it out of the Land Act. " 

We were thus naturally led on to talk about Land 
Purchase. Lord Clancarty will in any event be a large- 
proprietor. The mansion, the demesne with its thousand 
acres, the estate we were looking at, the town and its 
appurtenances, will remain his property to keep or sell 
as he likes, and the rest the tenants will, probably, be 
forced to purchase. A general valuation of the whole 
country Mr. Fowler thought necessary. " I, with assist- 
ants, could value Lord Clancarty's twenty-five thousand 
acres," he suggested, " in six months." The present 
commissioners he thought incompetent. " They are, as 
a rule, impecunious men of the farmer class, of no stand- 
ing or experience." No light was thrown on the vexed 
question of payment. " Greenbacks on the security of 
Irish land, the interest to be paid by the farmers, would 
be worthless." In general he seemed pessimistic. " The 
expropriation of the landlords," he said, " will be ruin to 
shopkeepers. The country will go back a century. I 
thought of going away this year." 


Purtil, the President of the League, I found in his 
grocery, an amiable man who prides himself on his mod- 


eration. "Lord Clancarty," he admitted, "we don't 
call a bad landlord. The rents have come down as they 
are from generations. Here and there we find people 
who have been tenants so long that they are unwilling to 
go into court, but think they will soon. 

" Mr. Fowler is not a bad man, but he wont take ad- 
vice. I think he would like to see the tenants well off, 
if he could get at the right way of going about it. I be- 
lieve there have been some evictions, but not near Bal- 
linasloe. I know no cases of extreme hardship here. 

" We find great difficulty in getting Lord Clancarty's 
tenants to be active in our movement. One reason is 
they get so much employment from Lord Clancarty, and 
they are afraid it may cease if they join us. However, 
they are getting more independent. 

" Last January six shillings in the pound were given 
for that half year, and four shillings for the half year 

" A few tenants went into court when the first Land 
Act passed and got little reduction. Then when Mr. 
Fowler was giving as much as thirty per cent., he refused 
to consider these cases, on the ground that people who 
went to law should abide the consequences. 

" Any Purchase Act from the present government 
would be badly received. The people think that ' Coer- 
cion ' will rob a ' Purchase ' bill of many of its merits. 
The farmers, too, will not avail themselves of any act 
not given as a final settlement. They will wait for some- 
thing better to turn up. They would rather take a larger 
reduction now and wait for a final settlement. They 
remember that the men who went into the land courts 
early did not get as good reductions as those who waited 
till later. It does fall in with the views of a great many 


that there will be no settlement of the land question till 
Home Rule is granted, but the people will accept a good 
Purchase Act first, and then will go in straight for Home 

" The townspeople mostly are in favor of Home Rule, 
and think it would revive trade wonderfully, but the far- 
mers are slow and have to be educated up to it. 

" They have too much to do beyond to look into our 
local affairs here. That ought to be done by County 
Boards, but the national desire for a Parliament would 
lead to further agitation, even if the scheme of County 
Boards worked well. 

" In this town we have plenty of water power, a splen- 
did river running idly by, and if we had a woollen fac- 
tory here, which I have no doubt would spring up under 
a Home Rule Parliament, the young people would be 
employed, and all would be benefited. When things 
settle down under Home Rule, capitalists will be willing 
to invest, and then bounties, duties, and exhibitions will 
encourage manufactures. 

u It may be a government by ecclesiastics. What of 
that ? The clergy of this country have ever been faith- 
ful guides of the people, temporally as well as spiritually. 
In no country in the world do they enter into the wel- 
fare and happiness of the people so much as here. A 
priest will do all he can for a parishioner in trouble, and 
then it will be the man's own fault if he is not lifted. 
Both priest and bishop are sprung from the people, and 
there is no reason why they should not lead them right. 
Their influence is great, bnt the reason is that it has always 
been used for our good, and to-day the body of the clergy 
are as true-hearted and able as ever. Not three people 
in a hundred in Ireland will disagree with me here." 


The secretary of the League is Father Costello. His 
words were strong. " From here to Banagher," he said, 
" you pass through Pollock's estate, where he evicted 
seven hundred families ; and four miles to the north, in 
County Roscommon, he evicted fourteen hundred more. 
East of this, again, another Scotchman, Mathers, evicted 
five hundred families. North, south and east there ex- 
tends a decimated plain. Midway between here and Birr, 
from a little hill that overlooks the whole country-side, 
you will see not a house except a herd's hut. 

" Lords Clancarty and Clanbrook are the best land- 
lords in County Galway. Lord Clancarty never raised 
the rents, and never exacted the highest rent for a farm 
when it became vacant : but the Land Commissioners 
have taken off forty or fifty per cent, in some cases, and 
his agent has appealed. 

" Lord Clancarty has improved the property fairly, 
or rather this town, where he has erected many fine 
buildings. His draining operations I don't believe are 
very considerable. He gets £ 16,000 a year, and is most 
of the time abroad. Where are the factories he might 
have started ? 

" Sir Henry Burke's father was a good man, he was a 
good landlord in his way, not exacting the highest penny 
for his land, and yet as much as forty and fifty per cent, 
has been struck off his rents in some cases. 

" There is a difference of opinion as to the priority of 
the land question and Home Rule. As a priest, as the 
government has conceded the principle of ' dual owner- 
ship,' I would not question the title of the landlords. That 
is the Irish moral opinion. Still the English Parliament 
is not competent to settle the question of compensation ; 
it has not legislated so often for the good of Ireland. 


" For a hundred years we have been governed by Eng- 
land. What has she done for us ? We were nine mil- 
lions ; potatoes and meal would have supported us, and 
England would not give us that. She has maintained 
here a dominant oligarchy. Many a farmer could not 
marry his daughter without asking the agent. If the 
agent saw a girl nicely dressed, he would often raise her 
father's rent. The other day one of the Land Commis- 
sioners told me he was going to value a farm, and seeing 
a fine clover field, turned to the farmer, and said : 
1 Shure, you can't say your land is bad.' He replied : 
1 Bad luck to that clover field! ' and explained that after 
he had worked at it a long time and succeeded, the 
landlady saw it, and made it the standard for the whole 
farm, raising the rent accordingly." 

In the evening at Purtill's store, half a dozen of us 
sat and smoked our short clay pipes, — Comyn, a far- 
mer ; Egan and O'Connor, shopkeepers ; and Kennedy, 
the foreman of a quarry. 

Egan. " Nothing short of Home Rule will satisfy the 
Irish people ; but they will accept any Land Bill as an 
instalment." All agreed. 

Comyn. " No matter what the leaders wish, the ten- 
ant farmers would accept a Land Purchase Bill as final 
and give up Home Rule." 

Kennedy. " I want whatever Parnell wants, and Dillon 
— nothing short of that. If I had sufficient force at my 
back I would clear the whole lot of landlords out of 
Ireland to-morrow, but that 's impossible. I would be 
content with nothing short of separation for all the 
wrongs of the last six centuries, — separation and repara- 
tion ; till then I take all our leaders can get. We are as 
favorably situated as Belgium, with its own king, near 


France. Why should n't we have a republic or a king of 
our own here ? I think the majority of the younger men 
agree with me." 

Egan. " If we adopt the action of our leaders now, 
how can we, as honest men, take Home Rule except as 
a final settlement ?" 

O'Connor. " If we cannot get Home Rule now except 
as a finality, are not we right in pretending ? The big- 
gest rogue is the best politician. Take Gladstone. His 
speeches are inconsistent, and he is our model." 

Purtill. " Would the country accept Gladstone's bill 
as final?" 

Omnes. " That is the question." 

Purtill. " That would depend on the financial settle- 
ment. We pay on whiskey, our national beverage, a tax 
one third higher than the English pay on an equivalent 
amount of beer, their national beverage. 

Comyn. " There is a great deal of sentiment still 
against the connection with England, no matter what 
the financial settlement might be." 

Egan. " Seeing that the people are apparently satisfied 
with what the members are doing, and the members have 
accepted Gladstone's bill, we should be satisfied with 

Kennedy. " The best way of getting total separation is 
to get partial reparation first." 

O'Connor. " If I have an account of £60 against a 
man, I would accept ^30, but should be very slow to 
give him a receipt in full." 

Egan. " Suppose the man said, ' Will you take ten 
shillings in the pound as payment in full ? ' Ought n't 
you, on getting the ^30, to give him a receipt in full ? " 

O'Connor. " If the fellow had gone to court with you, 


and you knew he had the money, you would be a fool to 
do so." 

I suggested : " Surely the government has done some 
generous things. Why else should they have passed the 
last Land Act ? " 

O'Connor. " That was in deference to Russell and not 
to Parnell. There were too many lease-holders in 

" Where will the Home-Rule Parliament get money ? " 
asked I. 

Purtill. "From the English people." 

Fallen (a shopkeeper and farmer, who had just come 
in). " Even if my wages were less under Home Rule, I 
should still cry out for it. Our Parliament will have the 
treasury of the country to start industries with." 

When I asked how the condition of the west would be 
improved, he replied : " It is not with the sea-coast 
people we have to deal, but with inland men like these 

" Would you accept a constitution like that of Massa- 
chusetts, with clauses against the violation of contracts 
and taking of private property without compensation ? " 

" No ! " he exclaimed. " Can we not pass laws for 
ourselves, without England saying we must not pass a 
law in violation of contracts ? " 

Fallen then said he would tell me his story if I cared 
to hear it. This is the story : 

" In 1846 my father, with five other promising young 
men, went up to Dublin to buy a farm offered in the 
Four Courts. He got it for thirteen shillings an acre, a 
hundred and fifty Irish acres in County Roscommon. 
In 1863 William Daniel Kelly, the landlord, being a 
spendthrift and short of money, raised the rent to a 


pound an acre. The next year, he inveigled the tenants, 
under a threat that some Scotchman would come in and 
turn the whole into sheep-walks, into taking out leases. 
We had to pay ^30 for the lease, which was for thirty- 
one years, or three lives, at jQi 2s. an acre. Up to 1876 
we found no difficulty in paying our rent, and my father 
brought up a large family — ten of us. He built a house 
and offices, made a boundary fence, or 'mearing,' and 
drained it. In 1873 I went into ironmongery here and 
served my five years, being supported by my father. In 
1876 my eldest brother emigrated to America, and the 
next year two sisters. In 1880 an elder brother married 
and got ^150 with his wife. He had his portion of the 
farm set off to him, sixty acres ; a house was built for 
him, and he took a mare and foal at ^20, two heifers 
and twenty sheep at ^£50, a cow at ;£i2, and ^30 was 
allowed for the house. His wife's fortune soon went, 
and in 1886 he was totally without capital, and was on 
the eve of eviction for one year's rent. I had saved 
some money by that time and paid the rent, becoming 
tenant myself. Last year I paid a second year's rent, 
partly out of my savings ; and now another is due. How 
am I to pay it ? It may drive me to desperation — it may 
drive me to the Devil ! 

" The farmers are quite willing to have the land ques- 
tion settled first, but if our necks were in the gallows we 
would n't rest till we got Home Rule. Even with Home 
Rule we may never get over our feeling for a separate 
nationality, but our children may." 


" Go to Loughrea if you want to study the land ques- 
tion," said a casual acquaintance at Clifden. "There 


the ' Plan ' is in full blast. In 1881 and 1882 the foun- 
dation for the agitation was laid in blood. Within a 
circuit of six or seven miles there were eight or nine 
agrarian murders. At Woodford, on the property of 
Lord Clanricarde, who also owns Loughrea, March 
twelvemonth, Finley, a process-server, was shot dead in 
the wood while cutting timber. He was an old Crimean 
soldier, and his widow went down to the village and 
cursed the Catholic curate, who was an officer of the 
League. The police had to bring a coffin from a distance 
of fifteen miles to bury him. 

" There were about a dozen evictions near Woodford 
about a year ago, and so great was the excitement that 
the sub-agent and all the wood-rangers on the estate re- 
signed their places simply from fear. 

" In the present agitation there have been many mur- 
ders ; for boycotting proves a very efficient weapon, as 
there is a wholesome recollection of the outrages that pre- 
ceded it. A man who lives in a wild, remote spot in the 
country, and gets a letter threatening him with the fate 
of Blake or of Finley, if he persists in a certain course, 
must be a brave man to hold out." 

These remarks I had in mind as I drove to Loughrea, 
the town of the *' gray lake," through an interesting coun- 
try, twenty-two miles from Ballinasloe. 

The town itself is decayed and wretched. I counted 
over twenty ruined houses. Few people were moving in 
the streets, the shops looked as though a purchaser was 
unknown, and the hotel as though no guest had rung a 
bell there for a year. Constables were strolling in twos 
and threes wherever one turned. One, a sergeant, spoke 
about the outrages : 

" Mr. Blake, an agent of Lord Clanricarde, and his 


driver, were shot, a short quarter of a mile from town, as 
they were driving in on a market day. 

" Mr. Burke Rihassane, a landlord, near Castle Taylor, 
and Corporal Wallace who accompanied him, were shot 
in open daylight, while returning from Gort ' Petty Ses- 

" Dempsey, for taking an ' evicted ' farm, was shot at 
Hollypark, on his way to mass, about ten o'clock in the 

" Dogherty was murdered for land-grabbing, at night, 
in the yard of his own house, at Carrigar. 

" Sergeant Lintan was shot in Church Lane, nearly op- 
posite the church here, about nine o'clock in the morning, 
because he was too sharp after the publicans. 

" There were several persons tried for these murders, 
but no evidence could be got, and no one was convicted, 
except in the case of Dogherty's murder. Two men were 
sentenced to be hung for that, but they were remanded 
and are now in jail." 

James Kennedy, who is famous as the first man in the 
town who paid his money into the " Plan of Campaign " 
fund, was standing in the doorway of his shop, a spirit 
grocery, like a sentinel on duty. " I am standing here," 
he said, " on the look-out, to give warning in case any 
one pounces on us. 

" Two hours ago, there was a sale of shop goods, across 
the way, belonging to John Bowese. He can pay well, 
but we are all on a general strike. 

" Loughrea is in a state of siege. Sometimes we have 
three hundred police here, and then they are cut down 
to forty or fifty. It was once a prosperous town, before 
the crops failed and the cattle and sheep died from some 
kind of disease. It was a centre of grazing, but that has 


been ruined by American competition. Our only in- 
dustries, are the 'awl' and the ' needle.' Everything 
now is at a deadlock, and I don't believe six houses in 
the town are self-supporting, far less making any rent. 
The town is in a state of semi-bankruptcy. 

" We pay ten shillings in the pound taxes. 

" The rental of my house and six acres of land attached 
to it, is ^27 10s. My license costs ^"io, and the rates 
and taxes for the year are £8 \os. During the eight 
months past I haven't made the taxes from my business. 
This year my land which I let in conacre did not bring 
me in the rent and taxes. 

" Last October, Lord Clanricarde offered us twenty 
per cent, reduction, but we wanted forty per cent., though 
we would probably take thirty per cent Then we struck 
against him completely, and he has not got a penny from 
us since except by seizures. We all paid a half year's 
rent under the ' Plan of Campaign,' less eight shillings in 
the pound. I and a dozen others are fighting the battle 
of fifteen hundred tenants. Lord Clanricarde wants to 
keep up his rental in order to have a good basis for sell- 
ing under a Land Purchase Act. He 's a limb of perdi- 
tion, seizing and evicting and doing every thing he can 
to annoy us. He seems to be entirely callous. There 
is no sign of surrender yet on either side. 

" Every sod and house in the town belongs to Lord 
Clanricarde. This part of his property is worth about 
,£20,000 a year to him, and we have n't seen a Clanricarde 
here since the old marquis died twelve or thirteen years 

" There have been no outrages here since the shooting 
of Blake. The outrages then were caused by ' landlord- 
ism.' The policeman who was shot was shot for his 


officiousness in attending Land-League meetings as a 
government spy. 

" P. Sweeny is president of the ' District Organizing 
Branch/ which has charge of offiences against the 
League. How do they punish offenders ? By not 
speaking to them, by not dealing with them, by avoiding 
them in the market-place, in town and country, and leav- 
ing them to the indignity [sic] of their neighbors. This 
has a good deal of effect. At least a couple of tenants 
have been forced to give up farms they had grabbed. 

" Tullahill farm, eighty or ninety acres, was held by a 
brother of mine, who gave it up because the rent was too 
high. Another man went in and took it over the heads 
of the town people, who wanted it for a town park, for 
the accommodation of milch cows. The new man was 
of course obnoxious to the people and had to give up the 
farm, which Lord Clanricarde finally had stocked and 
kept by the Land Corporation. 

" The agent, his bailiffs, and emergency men get no 
supplies from the neighborhood, and the soldiers have to 
keep a shop of their own in the barracks." 

Land purchase he strongly approved of. " I consider," 
he said, " the farmers would be willing to buy for any 
reasonable price." 

A more detailed account of the causes of the agitation 
here was given by the Catholic Administrator, Father 

" The trouble has been going on since the Nolan elec- 
tion, about 1876, in the life of the old marquis. The 
rents were raised then because the tenants would not 
vote for the landlord's man. Blake was the agent. The 
times were good, and he put on all the rent he could. 
Such tenants were the first to go into the land courts ; 


and then, owing to Lord Clanricarde appealing the cases 
and pressing them, they found they could get no justice 
from the courts or the landlord, and took to the wild jus- 
tice of revenge. The other outrages were due to much the 
same circumstances. 

" In 1879, owing to the famine, the tenants were una- 
ble to pay the full rents. The Land League started here 
in 1880. In 1 88 1 the Land Act was passed, and great 
relief was expected from it ; but those who went into 
court then got only about five per cent, reduction, and 
that was not enough, though it brought the rents down 
to about Griffith's valuation. That valuation, however, 
was unusually high on the Clanricarde estate, because in 
1858, when it was made, this was a great wheat-growing 
country, and wheat was high ; now wheat is very low, 
and the wheat lands have been turned into pastures. 

" Lord Clanricarde appealed from all the judicial 
rents, and that deterred others from going into court. 
But after Blake was shot, in 1882 and 1883, there was a 
sudden jump in the price of cattle and sheep, and for a 
while the rents were pretty fairly paid. When prices fell 
again suddenly, the farmers had to sell off stock on a 
falling market to meet the rent, and that impoverished 
them greatly. Every half year, Joyce, the new agent, 
instituted legal proceedings to recover the rent, and that 
impoverished the tenants still more, for they had costs 
to pay. 

" Last August twelvemonth, six tenants were evicted 
and some twenty others writted who have not yet been 
disturbed. Some of them were only a year and a half 
in arrears. Whenever the amount due was over ^20, 
Lord Clanricarde brought suit in the Superior Court, so 
as to carry ;£io costs. A company of soldiers and a 


number of police were here, and it took weeks to get 
into one house. 

" In October, last year, Lord Clanricarde offered, with- 
out solicitation, a reduction of twenty per cent, to those 
agricultural tenants who had holdings under ^50 valua- 
tion and who had not gone into court. The tenants re- 
jected the offer, and none has been made since. A num- 
ber of them would have accepted if the evicted tenants 
were reinstated, but the majority did not think the re- 
duction sufficient, though twenty-five per cent, all round 
would have been taken. 

" The Plan of Campaign was then adopted. The shop- 
keepers, of course could pay, but they said they would 
fall in with the rest, as they lived on the people. Many 
of them were writted last Christmas, and within the last 
fortnight the new agent has made a number of seizures 
of shop goods. 

"The government has suppressed the League here, be- 
cause, I suppose, of the intimidation. There has been 
intimidation, without doubt, but no serious outrages of 

" In the end, Lord Clanricarde can get the rent from a 
certain number by proceeding as he is doing, but from 
more than half he will never be able to get the full rent, 
and he won't be able to evict them without a great 

" Peasant proprietorship must come in time ; I don't 
care from which party, but when it does come I think 
the people will lose their interest in the Home Rule 

" The leaders use the land question as a lever for 
Home Rule, and don't want a settlement ; but if a good 
bill were introduced the people would not mind them. 


The priests will give sounder advice ; and without any 
advice at all the farmers will look out for their own in- 
terests. Then the same feeling which prompts a man to 
buy land will make him keep it ; he will be as loath to 
sell as he now is to give it up to the landlord, and land- 
lordism will not spring up again. 

" The landlords are few in number and the tenants 
many ; so of the two, it is better that the former should 
suffer ; besides, the ruin of the tenants would not benefit 
the landlords, for they could not make the land pay with- 
out them. 

" From Home Rule, impossibilities are expected, and 
changes that will require vast sums of money. A Home 
Rule Parliament will have no capital and little credit, 
and the only means of raising money will be by taxation. 
What the people expect to do is to tax imports, and they 
argue that that will both fill the exchequer and encour- 
age native industries. The two objects are probably in- 

On the way back to Ballinasloe I stopped at a village, 
Kilreegan. An old farmer with white hair talked in a 
loud, good-natured voice. 

" Michael Henry Burke, of Ballydoogan Castle," he 
shouted, "is the best landlord in Ireland. His father 
was a good one too, and gave good reductions. We pay 
a good landlord his rents with satisfaction. He was in 
Texas for four or five years, and our tongues could not 
express our gladness to get him home. 

" In his father's time, if we wanted some timber, what- 
ever we wanted, he never refused us. 

" Lord Clonbrook was very popular, but he evicted a 
man some days ago, and when some of the tenants asked 
for a reduction, he evicted them. 


" Nineteen, twenty, and thirty pounds I have known 
added to the rents as costs on Lord Clanricarde's prop- 

" I am seventy-seven, and the corn-crop is the poorest 
I ever saw, and the meadowing never was so light. The 
potatoes are good, but the cabbages have failed. We can- 
not live by the profits of the land." 

Pat Gallagher, a tenant of Lord Wallescourt, was 
standing by : 

" I have seven acres, rented at seven pounds, and am 
now evicted. The tenants asked for thirty per cent., and 
only fifteen was offered. 

" The locality is not able to pay taxes, much less rent. 

" What do I do with my land ? Begorra, I can't tell." 

Here a workingman broke in with : " We can't get any 
work. Half a day, during the harvest, and during the 
winter nothing but an odd day or two. The farmers are 
too poor to give us work ; they could n't if they owned 
their holdings." 



Twenty-two miles from Letterkenny, in the centre of 
a wild, desolate region, is a large, square, wooden build- 
ing, enclosing a broad courtyard — this is the Gweedore 
Hotel. Behind us, on either side of the long, dreary 
road stretch hills that seem little more than vast piles of 
loose stones, variegated with patches of bog and grass, 
black and green-bronzed over with the fading heather ; 
the desolation unbroken save when a black-faced sheep 
peers curiously through the low wire fences that reach 
from rock to rock, or where a thin blue line of smoke 
curls from a tiny stone hut nestling by a narrow ribbon 
of potato ridges in the rare shelter of a wind-driven 
clump of trees. Before us towers that beautiful moun- 
tain Erigal, a pyramid of gleaming limestones ; at our 
feet are neatly trimmed hedges of purple-crimson fuschias, 
and, when all is still, to our ears the light wind brings 
the murmur of the neighboring ocean. 

This is the property of Captain Hill, the eldest son of 
Lord George Hill, who in his day was regarded as a 
model philanthropic landlord. 

" He built the hotel," said a business man, a strong 
Nationalist, who for fourteen years had been familiar 
with the place. " He tried to encourage neatness and in- 
dustry by offering yearly prizes to the tenant who kept 
the tidiest house or who made the best frieze. He was a 
constant visitor at the hotel, and took the greatest inter- 



est in the property. The great wrong he did was to let 
the commonage of the mountains to Scotch graziers, 
and then to fine the people for the destruction of the 
sheep, which was only in part malicious. Except for 
this, there was little difference between Lord George 
and his tenantry." 

To the loss of their ancient rights of grazing the 
people attribute their poverty ; but the graziers are to- 
day more hard hit by the fall in prices than any other 
class in Ireland, and there must be other causes to ac- 
count for the unquestionable poverty of the people. 
The average size of the holdings is not over four acres, 
but thirty years ago these small tenants were fairly well 
to do, for Gweedore was famous for its lobsters, which 
were exported as far as Paris, and the kelp which 
abounded all along the coast was extremely valuable. 
Now the lobster fishery is exhausted, and the price of 
kelp is low. In such a district the pressure of American 
competition is severely felt, for the smallest rent cannot 
be paid without ready money, and farm produce is be- 
coming more and more difficult to dispose of at prices 
sufficient to meet the cost of carriage to the nearest mar- 
ket. The average rent of a holding is twenty-five shil- 
lings a year, but even this cannot be collected without 
threats and violence. For this purpose some seventy- 
five of the Royal Irish Constabulary have been quartered 
for the last month in the garrets of the hotel stables. A 
resident magistrate and a stipendiary magistrate are 
waiting the directions of the agent, Colonel Dobbing, 
and in an angle of the road, anxiously watching the 
movements of the police, may be seen the sturdy form of 
the parish priest, James McFadden, and beside him in 
long cloaks Professor Stuart, M.P., and friends. 


Colonel Dobbing was the agent of the late Lord Lei- 
trim, who with his driver and footman was murdered 
some years ago. To pacify the tenants he was dismissed 
by the present Lord Leitrim, and was recently appointed 
agent to Captain Hill. " Father McFadden," said my 
informant, " protested against the appointment, and the 
tenants refused to have any thing to do with him, though 
they were willing to pay their rents to Robertson of the 
Hotel, or to Hill himself." Until the present Land Act 
comparatively few of the tenants were able to go into 
court, because so many of them had sublet. In the 
spring, several were evicted and were allowed to return 
as caretakers on a promise by the parish priest that they 
would either pay or go out quietly in six months. Such 
at least is Dobbing's account. " Dobbing," said a visit- 
ing priest to me as he offered me a seat on his car, 
" Dobbing is a descendant of Heppenstal, the ' walking 
gallows,' who in '98 used to hang criminals on his own 
neck, he was so tall and strong." 

Father McFadden is beloved by the people as much 
as Colonel Dobbing is hated. About 1872 he was ap- 
pointed curate in the Rosses, and won a great reputation 
for zeal and benevolence, starting the temperance move- 
ment and harmonizing the people. A few years later he 
was appointed parish priest of Gweedore, the youngest 
priest in the diocese, at a place requiring great energy. 

Here he built a parochial schoolhouse and decorated 
the church. a A stream passed under the church," said 
an enthusiastic admirer, " and a few years ago it was 
flooded during service. He had to get up and cling to the 
altar, and two persons were drowned. Father McFadden 
had a new channel dug for the stream on one side of the 
church ; and all these things he did with money collected 


outside of the parish. Almost all the people he has now 
got enrolled in a temperance society, and he leads them 
and protects them in every thing." 

Such are the priest and the agent. It is perhaps not 
surprising that, in the words of a magistrate, " Father 
McFadden and Colonel Dobbing are like cat and dog. 
Dobbin g insists on the tenants paying at least half the 
costs of the ejectment proceedings, some thing like ^"250, 
in addition to the rent, and that Father McFadden will 
never allow." 

Soon the long line of constables, in their blue military 
uniforms and forage caps, began to move, headed by the 
Stipendiary Magistrate, a mild-mannered gentleman with 
but little heart in the work, and Colonel Dobbing with a 
rifle on his shoulder, a rigid, uncompromising, pale-faced, 
and haughty man. Two miles from the hotel the police 
halted by the roadside, while the agent and the magis- 
trate marched slowly up a sloping field to the door of a 
little cottage, — a rude stone hut, with one window, 
thatched with " scraws " of sod, green with grass and 
weeds. " Here lives Margaret Doughan," said a voice at 
my side. " The rent is fifteen shillings a year for the 
cottage and a patch of land, and she has turf from a bog 
and grazing on the hillside free. The landlord built the 
house himself at a cost of seven pounds, and now he is 
pulling it down. I used to be bailiff here, but for the 
last six years have had no dealings with the people. 
When I did I found them the best people in the world." 

The agent stepped quickly to the door to demand pos- 
session, and at that moment Father McFadden ran up to 
him, crying out, "I have a proposal to make." 

" Will you pay the cash ? " demanded Colonel Dobbing. 

" No ! " 


" Then go ahead," he shouted to the emergency men. 

" I offer two thirds of one year's rent, if all arrears 
are forgiven ! " cried McFadden, in great excitement. 

" Mr. McFadden, walk off, sir ! " shouted the Colonel, 
now thoroughly aroused. Four or five rough-looking men 
seize long iron bars and begin striking at the door. In a 
few minutes it is torn down and discloses a rough barri- 
cade or rather a wall of large, flat stones five feet high, and 
from behind it a shower of hot water issues in a cloud of 
steam. Several constables now join in the fray and tak- 
ing shelter under cover of the wall on each side of the 
door dart forward from time to time, ducking to avoid 
the water that jets out in intermittent streams, tug at the 
stones in the doorway, and finally carry them off in tri- 
umph as they are loosened by the continuous blows of 
the emergency men. At last they leap over the ruins 
and reappear with the still struggling warriors, — an old 
woman in a patch-work dress of rags, a boy and a girl, 
and a neighbor called in to assist in the defence of the 
homestead. This valiant neighbor is — a sturdy young 
married woman with an unweaned baby at her breast. 
The contents of the hut are now removed, one by one, — 
an old bench, a few pots and pans, and some soiled 

The eviction was scarcely over when up jumped 
Father McFadden and again confronted Colonel Dobb- 
ing, and in an instant it became clear that at the bottom 
of the difficulty at Gweedore was a personal contest for 
mastery between these two men, the aristocrat and the 
peasant, both equally sincere and equally uncompromis- 

"I am authorized," said the Champion of the Peo- 
ple, " to make a most generous offer. I offer, in the name 


of Professor Stuart here, two thirds of the whole year's 
rent of the agricultural holdings on the estate, £600 or 
^700, if all arrears are wiped off and the same reduction 
allowed for the future." 

" I refuse to allow any interference." 

" I am sure," retorted McFadden, not uncourteously, 
" you cannot arrange the affairs of the estate without my 
assistance. I represent the people." 

" I wish to make this offer," interrupted Professor 
Stuart, gently, " believing I know the condition of the 

" I don't believe you can," was the reply. " You 
have got your facts from the camp of the enemy. I 
will discuss the matter with you at the hotel, but not 
here, and not until these caretakers have given up pos- 

" I want to stop the whole wretched business," said 
Professor Stuart as he turned away sadly. 

The agent and the magistrate then went up the hill to 
another little hut to demand possession, but, on the priest 
interfering, it was found that the warrant was directed to 
a widow who had lately died, instead of to her three 
daughters, who were now the tenants ; and the magistrate 
descended to the road in disgust, amid the shouts of the 
bystanders, and marched the constables quickly back 
again to the hotel. 

One of the officials who had watched the scene 
throughout, expressed what seemed to be the general 
opinion : " Any settlement almost would be for the 
benefit of the landlord : for, in the first place, he will get 
some money down, and then the combination would be 
broken, and a great many will pay who dare not do so 
under the 'Plan of Campaign.' The postmistress here, 


for example, would be glad to pay, for if she were turned 
out she would lose her situation." 

A neighboring hill-top was black with people, watching 
our doings, for the priest had forbidden them to come 
any nearer. A mile from the hotel they met us, a great 
crowd, clamorous and excited. In a moment the priest 
stopped his car, and was standing on a low stone wall, 
with the English visitors beside him. In the hush that 
followed, Professor Stuart began to speak : " I only wish 
there were a continuous stream of Englishmen coming 
here. An eviction in England is merely a house-flitting ; 
it is not so here. Here you have reclaimed the soil and 
built your house, and are turned out of the holding you 
have made productive. In England a farm is let with 
the house and out-houses already built ; here you make 
the land itself out of the rock, and when you improve it 
the landlord raises the rent." (A Catholic curate beside 
me admitted this was not true now.) " When the English 
people understand that they will turn out Lord Salisbury 
and bring in Mr. Gladstone. 

" I would suggest that if Colonel Dobbing took a sail 
to Tory Island to-morrow, and then a few storms arose, 
no one here would feel any particular pain. 

" From seven o'clock we have been making offers and 
they have been refused. I offered to pay the present 
year's rent, with certain reductions, if all arrears were 
wiped out, and the evictions stayed. Many an English 
landlord would be delighted to-day if he got such an 
offer. These evictions will sound in the ears of Eng- 
land, and it will be said the landlord had an offer and 
refused it. 

" It is a crime to evict, but it is a bigger crime to send 
people to the workhouse or make them emigrate. It will 


be sand in the eyes and vinegar in the mouth of the 
landlords if you build the evicted tenants houses on the 
land and keep them there." 

" I say," continued Mr. Beal, an unsuccessful candi- 
date for M.P. for St. Pancras, London, " I say that any 
man who says that Home Rule means Separation, says a 
black and infamous lie. Is it Home Rule you want or 
Separation ? " (A voice : " Home Rule, not Separa- 
tion ! ") "I can now say I have seen Irish Nationalists 
and they do not want Separation. 

" Then, again, the smallest outrage will be magnified a 
thousand-fold by the jealous lenses of the Tory party, so 
commit no outrages. Those who have justice on their 
side need not break the law. Let the Tory government 
break the law, as they did at Mitchelstown." 

Up spoke Mr. S., the secretary of the London Liberal 
and Radical Union : " I have seen the monstrous in- 
humanity of your landlords : but the Liberal party has 
put its hand to the plough, and will not draw it back 
until Home Rule is won. I want England also to have 
Home Rule, and London too" 

Large raindrops began to fall, and the people were 
dismissed by Father McFadden. " We are about being 
evicted by the weather. You will keep the principles 
you have observed the last few days. It is abominable 
to have these atrocities carried out in a hidden way, and 
you are justified in attending them. Three evictions re- 
main in the body of the parish. If they come off we will 
meet to-morrow without fear of the proclamations, which 
are not worth the paper they are written on. Be satisfied 
of this. 

" The full rents Captain Hill will never be able to ob- 
tain : not even with the English fleet by sea and the 


army by land. It is impossible. And of the costs he 
will never get one farthing. We will never do the impos- 
sible ; we will never do the unreasonable. 

" To-day the agent went up the hill to that hut and 
was going to pull it down without a legal warrant. That 
is the sort of man you have to deal with. In our absence 
he would ride rough-shod over the people." 

The rest of the speech was in Irish. The meeting 
closed with cheers for a constable who, the day before, 
had refused to obey an order to load. 

From Father McFadden some further facts about these 
evictions were obtained. Margaret Doughan, evicted to- 
day, had been evicted before, and was in as caretaker. 
Her rent was twenty-five shillings, and the legal costs 
were £4 ijs. 4a. 1 

Seventy-three tenants had gone into court to get judi- 
cial rents fixed. The rents due from sixty-nine of these 
tenants amounted to ^156 4s. id., which arrears brought 
U P t0 £ 2 2>$ 4 s - $hd-> an d the rental fixed by the court 
wa s ^95 6 *- 

In the evening a neighboring farmer was talking about 
a proposal made by Father McFadden to buy the prop- 
erty for ten years' purchase of two thirds of the annual 
rent. " I would give twelve years' purchase of a fair 
rent, but not over ten years' purchase of the present 
rents, which would make our annual payments forty per 
cent, of what we pay now. I can't make more than that. 

" Many of the people, though, will not be satisfied with 
any thing. They seem to want the landlord to plough 
the land and pay them for digging the potatoes. 

1 Sheriff's fee when the writ was lodged, . £1 is. td. 
Execution fee . . . . . £1. 
Costs in court : solicitor's fee . . £2 i$s. lod. 


" The cause of the agitation is simply that prices have 
fallen to half what they were. Five years ago, in 1882, 
the people would have been glad to give twenty years' 
purchase of the land, now they would hardly be satisfied 
with ten. 

" Good landlords are treated now no better than the 
bad, because before the Land Act they all acted as a 
body, whenever the tenants tried to improve their posi- 
tion, and because since the Land Act, instead of being 
as kind to their tenants as before, the good landlords 
have become stubborn and enforced all their legal rights 
to the utmost, until they have all the tenants set against 

" The settlement of the land question would not stop 
the agitation for Home Rule, but it would take the edge 
off it. One has been the feeder for the other. We are 
bound up with England, and would be injured by any 
thing like separation. 

" My hopes for the future rest on the fact that the peo- 
ple are gaining so rapidly in intelligence and education, 
and that the things that in the past caused ill-feeling are 
disappearing, and will be avoided in the future." 


Falcarragh, or Cross Roads, is a little fishing village on 
the bleak Donegal coast, opposite Tory Island, one long 
street of two-storied, slated, stone houses. These houses 
were built twenty years ago, when times were good, and 
give the place an air of prosperity that is perhaps mis- 
leading. So at least Father Stephens seemed to think, 
the sturdy, athletic young curate, who has since been im- 
prisoned under the "Crimes Act." 

" Five or six years ago/' he said, " ^1,000 a week was 


paid in this parish for bog ore. The carters used to 
spend their money freely, and as many as ten ships at a 
time were owned here in this one industry. That busi- 
ness has died out. 

" The kelp trade also is going. Kelp once fetched ^3 
a ton, instead of thirty shillings, and now there is only 
one buyer of kelp here where there used to be three or 

" The fall in prices has further impoverished us. Half 
the pigs were driven home again from the last great pig 
fair, for no money could be got for them. Oats that sold 
for a shilling a stone are selling now for sixpence. 

" All the men here go to Scotland as harvesters, and 
the price of labor has fallen. The children over ten 
years of age go out to service to the farmers in the Lag- 
gan, the grazing district between Letterkenny, Lifford, 
and Derry. The children are sent in droves to the spring 
hiring-fair at Letterkenny, and the farmers, Scotch Pres- 
byterians, examine them as they would animals, and pay 
for them according to their condition. ' 

" The landlords here were very niggardly. Twenty 
years ago there was n't a church or a school in the town, 
for the landlords would n't give us land to build on. 
Finally one gentleman, Daniel Sweeney, twelve years 
ago, gave us land for a schoolhouse and a church too, 
and he was so boycotted by the neighboring gentry that 
he had to go away. 

" The great act of tyranny was the taking of the moun- 
tain pastures from the people. They used, from time 
immemorial, to send their beasts to the mountains ; but 
thirty years ago the landlords combined to take the 

1 Such hiring-fairs were once common throughout the country, and 
even in England. They are simply the survival of an old custom. 


mountains from them and let them to Scotch graziers. 
Many of the sheep disappeared, probably from the sever- 
ity of the weather, for it is the custom here to winter the 
sheep in the kitchens. The landlords then applied to the 
grand juries to have taxes assessed on the county for ma- 
licious injury, and thousands of pounds were taken from 
the poor people, who have not yet recovered. 

"We want Home Rule, for that will develop our in- 
dustries. What is needed is capital. No one will invest 
now, but as soon as the agitation ceases, as it will under 
Home Rule, money will come here in abundance." 

After service in the beautiful large stone church, I 
went to the weekly meeting of the National League, in a 
large barnlike room. Father Stephens presided over 
an assembly of earnest-looking farmers. Resolutions 
were adopted sympathizing with the tenantry of Gwee- 
dore ; and then the good Father urged all present to file 
without delay notices under the new Land Act, and gave 
advice to all who asked it, usually farmers served with 
writs, who did not know what their rights were or what 
to do. 

For a long time we sat and chatted. Said one farmer, 
like the rest in rough, warm home-spun : " Children 
from seven to ten years old go to Letterkenny for from 
sixteen shillings to a pound for the six summer months. 
There is not a man here who has n't been through this." 

"Olphert, the landlord here," chimed in another, 
" would not give any land for a church, and would n't 
allow any house in Falcarragh to be used for a school." 

" The people here usually wear lapins, stockings with- 
out soles." 

" We have n't any coin at all here most of the time ; 
for six months in the year the only currency is eggs." 


George Brewster owns the hotel and several houses. 
I asked him how Falcarragh came to look so prosperous ? 
" Why," said he, " some years ago I made as much as 
^1,200 from the bog ore, which is now all used up. 
Many of these houses were built then. With few excep- 
tions, however, American or Australian money builds the 
houses in Ireland. That pine house with the Welsh tiles 
was built by a man who is indeed a publican, but he 
got the money to build it from his brother in Australia." 

"Ah ! " said an old farmer, " a farm by the sea-shore 
that could pay ^25 a few years since cannot make ^15 
rent now. Flax is £2 is. a hundredweight. I saw it 
sold for thirty shillings last Friday in Letterkenny, and 
in i860, at Cookstown, I saw seventeen shillings paid for 
a stone. Corn used to be sixteen shillings a stone ; it is 
now from four to six shillings. I have two cattle I 
bought seven months ago for ^12, and if any man will 
give me ;£io for them now he can have them, though 
the six months' grass is worth at least thirty shillings." 

The next day muffled horses were being walked up 
and down the street by diminutive jockeys, and the little 
town was crowded with excited farmers and fishermen, 
for it was the day of the autumn horse races. The races 
were announced to take place in a large level field offered 
by Mr. Olphert ; but early in the morning the crowds 
were addressed by Father Stephens and Father McFad- 
den of Gweedore. " The landlords must be boycotted," 
they shouted ; " the races must be run on the shore, and 
twenty pounds of the League funds will be given as 
prizes." The jockeys cursed, but obeyed, and the horses 
galloped and slipped on the broad, flat sands, where the 
sea-water lingered in an infinity of pools and runlets, 
while the people cheered lustily — weather-beaten Tory- 


Islanders, farmers in gray home-spun coats, and women 
with picturesque red shawls and petticoats. In the even- 
ing pandemonium reigned, and "poteen." 


Such a jolly, stout, rosy-faced fellow was McCarthy, 
now on his third trip through Donegal this year, a drum- 
mer for tea, sugar, drapery, spirits, and cordials, and to 
crown all, a life insurance agent as well. " I know every 
man, woman, and child in Donegal," he cried, as he 
slapped me on the back. " Up with your bag on my car, 
and off with me to Creeslough." Away we drove, up hill 
and down, by bleak inlets of the sea and stony valleys, 
every view dominated by Muckish, that lumbering moun- 
tain, with its " pig-shaped back " capped with snow. 
Hail fell viciously as we passed a great stone workhouse, 
and reached neat, picturesque Dunfanaghy. 

" This country is rich in natural wealth," said the 
drummer, as he flicked meditatively at the pony's tail. 
*' In Erigal there is indigo, good for making blue-balls 
and for dyeing the cloth the natives weave. Silver is 
found there too. In Muckish there is some of the finest 
flint-glass sand in the world. The gray and red granite 
there is equal to Aberdeen granite. Only Mr. Olphert's 
exorbitant demands prevented a London company from 
building a tramway to get it. How the country would 
be benefited by granite works, for the pottle needed for 
the polishing would make a distillery profitable ! 

"All along the coast is found Carrigan moss, used 
medicinally, and in Germany turned to account in finish- 
ing collars and linen fronts. There is a buyer of the 
moss in Derrybeg, who ships it to Derry and thence to 


" From the kelp on the shore they make iodine and 
potash, and the refuse does for manure. The importa- 
tion of iodine from South America has lowered the 
price, but it is rising now, as that supply is failing. 

" The water power of Donegal is so great, and labor 
here so cheap, that in the manufacture of flannels and 
tweeds our people could compete with the world ; and 
the sea-weed furnishes the finest dyes imaginable. 

" The fisheries should be encouraged by loans from 
the government for the purchase of better gear. The 
fishermen need smacks to go out to the banks, for, with 
ordinary boats, they have to run in and leave their nets 
at the least storm." 

We are passing now through the beautiful demesne of 
Stuart of Ards, seven miles from gate to gate. Magnifi- 
cent forests of oak and fir fringe the road ; and at every 
turning one catches a glimpse of many-cornered Muckish 
or of the glancing waters of Sheep Haven, and the bleak 
coast beyond ; but every thing has fallen into melancholy 
ruin : the leaves are ankle-deep in the paths ; gigantic 
trees lie uprooted by the roadside ; while countless gray 
rabbits are merrily leaping in the thick brown ferns. 
Past large farm buildings, a little village in itself, we turn 
up a steep road towards the tiny village of Creeslough. 
A keen wind blows tempestuously from the Atlantic as 
we mount the long flight of wooden steps to the hotel of 
Edward Lafferty, as he stands expectant, twenty-six 
stone of good-natured hospitality, by the side of a large 
fuschia bush still in full bloom. 

The drummer and the landlord, who is a farmer as 
well, talked long and earnestly. " The country is really 
bankrupt," said McCarthy. " Every one is in debt to the 


" The farmers borrowed largely in the good times, and 
put all the money into the land. Prices have fallen 
since, and now the largest farm does n't make the inter- 
est of the money spent upon it. The merchants for 
years have been supporting the landlords. Here I know 
all the debts, and the poorer the country is the deeper it 
is in debt. Along the coast of Donegal there is not a 
village where there is not three thousand pounds out- 
standing, and if the farms were sold the proceeds would 
not meet the indebtedness. 

" Stir-about and potatoes are what the people live on. 
All they buy from the shopkeepers is tea and drapery. 
The blue cloth cloaks are, indeed, of West of England 
manufacture, but the friezes they wear about Gweedore 
are home-made." 

" Yes," said Lafferty, " I agree. There is at least 
^3,000 out in Creeslough and more in Dunfanaghy. 
The banks have at last become shy of lending, except on 
the best security. They pay one and a quarter per cent, 
on ^200, and less on larger deposits, and they charge 
the people seven per cent, for the use of it." 

" It is morally impossible," was their conclusion, " for 
the land now to support the people living on it. No re- 
mission of rent will help that, especially where the peo- 
ple have never depended on the land but on kelp-picking 
and going out to service. In Gweedore the people are 
not able to live two months on what they get from the 
land, and it is the same all along the coast. In Donegal 
the people will never be able to live unless they get em- 
ployment, but here are fisheries and water-power. Indus- 
tries must be encouraged by the government ; and in the 
greater part of the country no good can be done except 
by protection duties. The same thing is true of England 


and Scotland. The expense of labor has been increasing 
and the price of the product has been decreasing so fast 
that protection has become necessary. 

" Cattle are not paying. Flax has gone down. The 
people have fallen back on pigs, and they are very low. 
Pigs are the last resort, the people's little savings-banks. 
Oats are ^\d. a stone, yd. for the best, and they used to 
be i6d. and 1yd. Sheep sell fairly. The people cannot 
pay the shopkeepers, who give them a year or more, 
while they get only three or four months' grace themselves. 
The big farmers are losing all the time," continued the 
drummer ; " the only restraining power at present is the 
medium-sized farms, what a man can cultivate himself 
without outside labor." 

" How large would that be ? " I enquired. 

"A man with two sons and two daughters," replied 
Lafferty, " could cultivate from ten to twenty acres." 

"If we had no rent," he said further, "we might live. 
A mountain farmer with £4, if the potatoes failed, could 
buy meal for his pigs and be still a pound to the good ; 
next year he would have more. Two pounds are a great 
deal to a poor country farmer. In" May such a man can 
often not get a bit of meal, and an extra pound or two 
would tide him over till the potatoes came. I believe, in 
time, things will find their own level. No change of 
government is necessary, except to one that will develop 
the industries of the country." 

The last thing I heard that night was the voice of Mc- 
Carthy in the next room shouting : " It was a good thing 
that Gladstone did not buy out the landlords ; the failure 
of that bill has been the salvation of the country ! " 

The next morning early we started again on our 
rounds. One view was beautiful exceedingly, where 


from a high mountain road we looked down on the an- 
cient, weather-stained Castle of Dove, seated on the 
beach of a winding inlet of the sea, with golden strands 
jutting by it far into the water, behind it yellowing woods, 
and in front the bare, gray headland of Derg. 

On the hillside an old man was digging potatoes ; we 
called to him and went into his hut to try to sell him 
some tea. No sign was on the door, but one of the side 
rooms was a tiny shop, where eggs, butter, pipes and to- 
bacco were lying promiscuously on dingy shelves. 
" There is coal in this locality," grumbled our host, " but 
the landlords won't let it be worked, for they claim the 
mines and all minerals. They can't open them them- 
selves for three fourths of them are bankrupt. The 
country won't be opened up till we have Home Rule." 

" Lord Leitrim has done some good," suggested the 
drummer. " He built the houses at Dunfanaghy and 
Creeslough. He made that fine market-place at Crees- 
lough, and started the steamer from Milltown." 

But the farmer was in a pessimistic mood. " The 
steamer has ruined the country. It has encouraged the 
farmers to sell very cheap. It has left Milltown without 
a penny. It takes away the little provision of the peo- 
ple. Many a man who has a market is better wanting it. 
As to the market-place in Creeslough it has done no 
good, no one used it, and it was n't opened at all this 

" There is nothing for the laborers to do. A laboring 
man in Milltown told me the other day he always got 
employment till this steamer came. 

" What is wanted is employment and opportunity to 
earn money. 

" Things are getting worse every year. Land at the 


present time is not worth any rent. Flax is the only thing 
that sells at all. Potatoes are a good crop, but oats are 
too low to be worth threshing. For eggs we pay only 8d. 
a dozen, and eggs are depended upon to support the 

" They are shipped to Glasgow chiefly," suggested the 
drummer, " for they expect larger eggs in England than 
we raise. Well," he added, " I never found it so hard to 
get money. Tea is cheap. Can I do any thing for you ? " 

" I can get good tea at Milltown for two shillings a 
pound," was the only answer, but the drummer spread 
out his little packages of samples on the table, and the 
farmer's wife began to inspect them minutely, rubbing 
the little black grains between her palms, and biting and 
sniffing at them with an air of extreme intelligence. 

In the next house we stopped at I listened sympatheti- 
cally to a long complaint about the rights of the tenants 
to a strip of salt meadow by the waterside, now claimed 
by the landlord ; and thence we hastened to the house of 
the parish priest, an elderly gentleman, with the most 
polished and amiable manners in the world. 

" Ten acres," he said, as he poured us out some whis- 
key, " is the average size of a farm about here, including 
arable and grazing land, but some have only an acre 
or an acre and a half to two acres and a half arable 

" Lord Leitrim is the principal landlord, and the rents 
are high. I, for one, pay £6 *js. for six statute acres on 
Cochrane's property, and for a farm of eight acres near 
by a widow pays £% 10^. I have a right of commonage 
of ten or fifteen acres on the mountain, but it would n't 
pay to put cattle there. 

" The rents are often kept up by people who come back 


from America and pay three or four times the value of 
the land for a farm to die on. 

" The people raise a little oats, flax, and potatoes. 
Oats and flax are very low ; flax from here sold a fort- 
night ago for two shillings and eight pence a stone at 
Letterkenny. Very few use oatmeal ; they usually get In- 
dian meal, and often feed the pigs on it. A cow or two 
is often kept. Cash is got only from pigs and butter and 
eggs. A little flannel is woven here, but no tweed. There 
is some fishing of flat fish, sole, and cod, but only near 
shore and from ' corraghs,' of which some thirty are 
owned in the parish. 

" My people go out to service, not so much to the Lag- 
gan as to Milltown and Rathmelton, but only for the 
summer months. There is not much suffering here, if you 
think people who live on dry potatoes don't suffer, for 
few eat butter except in winter, and meat or fowl only 
once or twice a year. 

" The widow who pays £& 10^. is going into court. 
The landlord offered to make it £6, but I would n't let 
her accept it, it was too much ; and yet the land is con- 
sidered good land. The rents all along the coast would 
not have been paid for the last twenty-five years but for 
American money. 

Lord Leitrim's steamer instead of doing harm has been 
useful to this parish. We had to go to Milltown, four- 
teen or fifteen miles off, to get a market ; now we have 
one at our doors. A chicken used to sell for twopence, 
now it brings eightpence. 

" A Purchase Bill would help the people, but slowly, 
for what they need is employment, the encouragement of 
industries, the opening up of the country. Whether this 
would be brought about by Home Rule, I don't know. 


There is a sentiment in favor of it, but I have no positive 
opinion. It may be said that our laws are now made 
chiefly by Englishmen and Scotchmen." 

Many were the anecdotes that my companion poured 
into my willing ears as we drove rapidly along the dark- 
ening roads. These are samples : 

" On Rutland Island there used to be, before 1848, a 
sailors' home, salt-pans, a custom-house, and a town as 
large as Falcarragh, for a great herring fishery was car- 
ried on there, and one could pass from one island to 
another on the decks of fishing vessels. One year not a 
fish was to be seen, and now fishermen have to go out to 
sea, outside of Aran Island, beyond the course of the 
Anchor Line steamers. 

" A Major Barton has a property at Greenfield, in 
Feenit. The charges on it are so great as to leave him 
little or no surplus now, and as twenty per cent, reduc- 
tion will probably be taken off under the new Land Act, 
he could n't live off the land, though even that reduction 
will give the tenants little enough. The Major is a magis- 
trate, but he is now starting in the provision and whiskey 
trade, and I have his opening orders. 

" Stuart of Ards used to spend an immense amount of 
money here, and provided much employment, but later 
on he got into difficulties, through no fault of his own, 
and now he has n't been seen in the County Donegal for 
the last twelve years." 

It became necessary to say " Good-bye " to my kind, 
energetic, intelligent friend. " Remember," he said, 
" that the farmers cannot be bettered so long as present 
prices continue, even as peasant proprietors, and the only 
thing that can improve their condition is a protective 
tariff, which we cannot get until our laws are made by a 
Home-Rule Parliament at Dublin." 



As one travels from Donegal to Belfast, the signs of 
industry seem to increase with every mile of the way. A 
little village I came to one evening, that was nothing but 
a large manufactory ; tidy operatives, cottages clustered 
round an immense flax-spinning mill. The wealthy owner 
of the mill is a representative Ulster man ; a devoted Glad- 
stonian in the days of the Reform Bill, and now an ardent 
Unionist, a practical business man, and successful, though 
still young. He began by speaking about Gweedore. 

" The average rental there is about twenty-four shil- 
lings, and yet Father McFadden has made all this row 
to get off thirty-three per cent., an average of eight shil- 
lings a year. What good would that do them ? 

" ' Compulsory land purchase is necessary,' said a 
Catholic Divisional Magistrate to me the other day, ' to 
make the tenants settle down in peace.' Now local guar- 
anties alone can make purchase practicable, for only by 
some such system will any pressure be put on a man by 
his neighbors to make him pay his instalments. Suppose 
that in one electoral division there are ten farmers ; if 
one of them is a defaulter, his default will raise the 
amount payable by the rest, and it will be their interest 
to get in a new and a strong man in his place, instead of 
boycotting any new-comer. You suggest that a guaran- 
ty involves the existence of a surplus fund ; but there is 
a surplus fund. The value of the land is made up of the 
tenants' interest and the landlords' interest, and both to- 
gether would be clearly a good security for the latter 
value alone. If you say that local boards will often re- 
fuse to give any guaranty, and that they cannot be forced 
to, the answer is simple. Don't let that particular local- 
ity purchase. 


" Some of the landlords will suffer, but though in the 
north they are a superior class, in the south and west 
they are, many of them, a wretched lot, who have incomes 
of only three or four hundred pounds, and who think of 
nothing but amusing themselves. 

" The landlords acted patriotically in refusing Glad- 
stone's Purchase Bill. They would n't bring the country 
to ruin for a sop of that sort. There is plenty of land 
about here worth twenty-two years' purchase, and most 
of the land in Ireland is worth ten ; but there are little 
holdings in the west, bog and mountain, that it would 
be criminal to allow the tenants to buy at any price. 
Twenty-two years' purchase all round was obviously 

" Even with a peasant proprietary, prosperity is not 
assured. In Eelgium the most fearful rack-renting exists ; 
very short leases are usual there, and just as soon as a 
small tenant improves, his rent is raised ; but the people 
don't mind that so much, because the new landlords are 
of their own class. 

" The first thing needed is the opening up of the con- 
gested districts. The government must do that, whether 
it pays or not. The government has been too niggardly, 
and, as in the Light Railway Act, has always exacted the 
strongest guaranties from local bodies. In opening up 
the country, the expense ought not to be charged to the 
localities immediately benefited. 

" The desire the people have for protection is very un- 
fortunate. Ireland is not rich enough to consume its 
own manufactures ; we shall always have to depend on 
our export trade. Under protection the cost of neces- 
saries will be higher, and so the cost of labor. This is a 
good climate for manufacturing, from its moisture and 


even temperature, and labor is very cheap. These are 
our only advantages. Cheap labor enables us to sell all 
over Europe, as I do ; but if we had protection we 
could n't compete abroad at all. There is so much com- 
petition, as it is, that the greatest patience and persever- 
ance is necessary to make any manufacture successful, 
but the people talk as though they could jump into 
manufacturing at one bound. 

" As business men, we are here absolutely opposed to 
Home Rule. The Nationalists may want to encourage 
my business, but every idea I have of justice, honesty, 
and liberty is opposed to their practices and principles. 
Our opinion ought to have weight, for what is the value 
to a country of a lot of uncultivated, ignorant people in 
comparison with an educated, industrious, manufacturing 
class. Gladstone's bill was an absurdity in proposing 
that we should continue to contribute to the imperial 
exchequer and yet cease to take any part in imperial 
affairs. We are determined not to allow ourselves to be 
separated from England. To my mind the whole thing 
is now completely over. All, except the most ignorant 
electors, have learnt that we have made up our minds, 
and that it is impossible to force a division upon two 
million of the most industrious and wealthy people in 
the country. The Irish will never get Home Rule with- 
out fighting for it, and they don't dare to fight. I feel 
sure that Ulster would fight, if a Home-Rule bill were 
passed, and I would join the Ulster men. 

"Local self-government is a different thing, and we 
believe in it. Questions about railroads and water-sup- 
plies, and local or private bills generally should be passed 
upon by county boards, or by provincial boards sitting 
in the capital of each province. These boards could not 


be purely elective at the outset, but should b"e ap- 

" The misery of the west and south is largely due to 
its being a Catholic country. I do not venture to have 
more than half my workmen Catholics ; if I had more 
my mills would soon be closed, for the priests would 
make us stop work on saints' days, and would insist on all 
the overseers being Catholics by threatening to strike if 
we refused. Now we are independent of them. The 
priests do evil that good may come, and join the League, 
whose principles they detest, for the sake of keeping their 
influence. The old Catholic curate here told me he dis- 
approved of the League, and yet now he makes Nation- 
alist speeches in public. 

" The linen trade is said to be shaky, but in fact more 
looms are going in Ireland now than ever before, and 
there is more demand for labor. It is true that the 
profits of the capitalists are diminishing, but so long as 
the labor bills are as they were there is no loss to the 


Dungannon is a well-built, attractive town, the centre 
of an agricultural district, and on that account deserted 
and dead-and-alive every day in the week except Thurs- 
day, the market day. Then the streets are crowded and 
the shops thronged. In the large square before the Bel- 
fast Bank, the farmers range their carts along the cobble 
stones that line each side of the road ; in temporary 
booths are displayed apples, butter, eggs, crockery, and 
plaster images, and the contents of the shops are trans- 
ferred from windows to stands upon the sidewalk, — 
drapery, joints of meat, and hardware. 


'' This town is half Catholic and half Protestant," said 
a clergyman, " and of the latter half are Presbyterians. 
The lowest stratum is Catholic, the next, chiefly store- 
keepers, Presbyterian and Methodist, and the gentry and 
some of the poorest people are Church of Ireland. 

" I consider that Gladstone is a traitor, and in old 
times would have been hung as one. In the event of 
Home Rule, however, I don't believe there would be 
more than a riot in Ulster, and not a very serious riot." 

" I would die rather than have Home Rule," exclaimed 
Mr. Black, the genial proprietor of a comfortable hotel, 
"yet I don't think there will be a real rising in Ulster ; 
and while many rich men will go away, their places will 
be taken by Americans with money. The evil, however, 
of Home Rule will in the long run be greater than the 

"Where I live," broke in a farmer who was listening, 
" in twelve townlands there are only forty-eight Catho- 
lics. How are we going to have Home Rule there ? We 
won't have it." 

" We want Home Rule," replied another farmer, " be- 
cause prices are so low. The Americans are sending us 
cheap cattle and grain. We want a tax on those things." 

In a cosy room, Hursen, the owner of a spirit grocery 
and Secretary of the League, a neighboring shopkeeper, 
and Flanigan, an auctioneer and news agent, discussed 
freely and at great length the condition and needs of 
Ireland. This was what was said : 

" In County Fermanagh the Catholics slightly prepon- 
derate, and we expect soon to return all Nationalist 
members at the next election. In Dungannon the ma- 
jority of the tradespeople are Unionists, and the same is 
true of Cookstown, but at Strabane, the largest town in 


the county, every member of the town council is a Na- 

"Home Rule is needed," said Hursen, "to develop 
our resources, the woollen trade, the fisheries, our rivers 
and harbors, our railroads, which should be owned by 
the government, and our waste lands, which should be 
reclaimed. We also want a final settlement of the land 
question, and the establishment of a peasant proprietary. 

" It is hard to get finality. Suppose our manufactures 
increase and laborers multiply ; they might be much 
tempted by the theory of Henry George that Davitt 
preaches. However, popular as Davitt is, the farmers 
would drag him off the platform if they half understood 
his meaning." 

I asked if the Nationalists would try to make a good 
purchase bill successful. 

" Many farmers," he replied, "would be contented if 
the land question were settled, and that is why they won't 
get it settled till Home Rule and Land Purchase are 
given us together. Home Rule will never be granted 
unless it is asked for, and it must be demanded with the 
same persistency and determination. We are not all 
farmers, remember, and how about the men who are not 
farmers, who are the cream of the whole country and the 
leaders of the movement ? They will have to be reckoned 
with. Parnell owes his great reputation largely to his 
not having formulated the demands of the Irish people. 
Look at his position towards the Land Act of 188 1. If 
he had accepted it as final, how could he have demanded 
a revision of the judicial rents this year? He is quite 
right in throwing on the other side the task of making 
any Land Act or Purchase Act successful. 

"As to the land, I think we have done very well. We 


have certainly a tenure superior to any I know anywhere. 
I do not look on the landlords as a class better or worse 
than any other class in the country, but landlordism has 
become unworkable, and a new system must be devised 
that will involve fewer interests. 

" No settlement of the land question will ever settle 
me. Every thing we want is given us from fear and not 
by reason. Catholic Emancipation was to avert civil 
war. The first Land Act was passed from the fear of 
Fenianism, and the last one to satisfy the Unionists. 

" However, we don't object to England because she 
governs us badly, but because she governs us at all. My 
position is that we have only one grievance — the govern- 
ment of Ireland by England. That is the whole trouble. 
The land laws of this country are indeed vastly better 
than those of England or of any other country. Even 
Henry George admits this." 

" The land laws good ! " shouted Flanigan. 

" ' A decent hat, a wife's new coat or gown 

For higher rent may mark the farmer down ; 
'Neath your cottage window cease to plant a rose, 
Lest it may draw the prowling bailiff's nose. 
Beware of whitewash lest your cottage lie 
A target for the bullet of his eye.' ' 

" That explains why the tenants do not make out of the 
land half as much as they should ; the fields next the 
road they never used to cultivate as well as the fields at 
a distance. The lying and dissimulation that these 
things caused have not been grown out of yet." 

" Not a farmer in Ulster," chimed in our third com- 
panion, "is able to pay his rents out of the profits 
of the farm. The land of Ulster has deteriorated more 
1 William Allingham. 


than that of any other province, in consequence of the 
culture of flax. Flax exhausts the soil ; it returns no 
manure to it, and in the linseed oil extracts a quality 
that seems impossible to restore. The prosperity of Bel- 
fast is momentary and shadowy, based as it is on the flax 
culture, for every year the flax grows poorer and weaker. 
They manure and put in potatoes and grass, and cannot 
repeat the flax with safety for seven years, but even then 
it never comes up in the same perfection." 

"I don't see," said Hursen, "that the contiguity of 
Ireland to England justifies England in annexing Ire- 
land, any more than the contiguity of England to France 
would justify France in annexing England. I base the 
demand for Home Rule on the ground of inalienable 
right. Our position is that we owe no loyalty to England, 
but we think the ruin of England would be the ruin of 
Ireland, and we do not desire separation, because we 
need England as a market for our goods, and we wish to 
keep England in all its integrity as a good, big, benefi- 
cent neighbor. 

" From a military point of view the empire would not 
be endangered by Home Rule. I believe there is a friend- 
ship growing up between the English and the Irish democ- 
racies. I cannot imagine that the Irish Parliament would 
be rich enough to provide defences, forts, guns, navy, 
commissariat, sufficient to protect itself from surrounding 
nations. I don't think either we should intrigue with 
France or any other power. It would n't be safe to rely 
on French help. When Parnell went to France to enlist 
the sympathy of Gambetta, he was not received, from 
fear of international difficulty, it was said, but really, I 
think, from contempt. I should, too, prefer to live un- 
der English than under French rule. 


" Resistance by Ulster to Home Rule is absurd. If 
the Orangemen resisted they would have to beat the rest 
of Ulster before attacking the other provinces. If the 
Orangemen cannot beat the Nationalists at the polls, 
how can they expect to beat them in the field ? 

" These people, too, are beginning to lose their terror 
of Home Rule. If it comes they will take advantage of 
it, just as they took advantage of the Land Act of 1881 
after opposing it. 

" As to the religious question : the people are leading 
the priests, not led by them. They are united now. 
O'Connell never had the priests with him as Parnell has. 
Some Protestants are with us too. The president of 
our branch is Moffat, a Protestant who lived long in 

" About outrages much nonsense is talked. The peo- 
ple should never be held accountable for moonlighting, 
for the reason that they have not the making of their 
own laws. What is the use of our trying to rectify the 
state of society, when we are not paid constables, and 
when those very acts complained of have been the means 
of our getting the greatest benefits. If we do not get 
Home Rule we are prepared to go on with a constant 
guerilla warfare till the crack of doom." 

It is time, perhaps, to listen to a landlord who has 
property in this county and the neighboring one of Fer- 
managh. A young man, of an old Protestant Orange 
family, he was educated abroad and early adopted lib- 
eral views, but as soon as the Home Rule Bill was intro- 
duced he became an energetic Unionist. 

" I have," he said, " a typical Ulster property. The 
mountains are inhabited by Catholics, and the valleys by 
Protestants. When a tenant fails in the valley, the ten- 


ant right can be sold for what it is worth ; but when you 
go up into the hills within reach of the League, a man 
who fails and wants to sell insists on being evicted. He 
allows himself to be evicted, and then we let him sell if 
he can. I have a tenant in that mountainous district, 
a drunkard, who went about collecting money for the 
League. He did n't pay any rent, so I evicted him, but 
reinstated him on account of his old mother. After a 
time I asked him to sell out ; but the people would n't 
let him. I kept him on then as caretaker. Soon the 
Protestant tenants in the neighborhood became tremen- 
dously excited about something, and the agent overheard 
them saying, 'A nice way to treat decent Protestants 
who pay rent ! That Irish Papist blackguard you give 
three years to and reinstate him.' I spoke to the man 
and he said, ' Shure, if I did n't tell the people about it, I 
could n't get a grazier to put a beast on the land at all.' 
I asked the neighbors whether any one would take the 
land if we turned the man out, and they all said ' No.' 

"Near me there are a lot of small farms of tenor 
twenty acres on the slopes of the mountains. Formerly, 
with the help of his sons and with cheap labor, the farmer 
reared cows and pigs, made butter, and raised oats 
and potatoes, and so paid his rent. Now labor is dear, 
and the young men, after getting a national-school educa- 
tion, go into the constabulary or emigrate ; the farmers 
cease to grow potatoes and oats, and the money from 
the calves and the butter goes to buy Indian meal, etc., 
for family use. So things get worse and worse. The 
style of living has changed for the better, perhaps, but 
the farmers are very incompetent. Such incompetency 
would be impossible under landlordism with full powers, 
and probably under peasant proprietorship. Even un- 


der a peasant proprietary, I do not suppose that evic- 
tions will die out wholly, for in some way or other a sys- 
tem will be devised for securing the survival of the fittest 
instead of the survival of the unfittest, which is the case 

" A large majority of the landlords would accept any 
reasonable terms of purchase now, and are coming to 
favor a purchase scheme more and more. They feel that 
their property is being taken from them slice by slice, 
and they would rather take an insufficient sum and put 
an end to their losses. In Ulster the landlords would 
rather have the terms of purchase fixed by private con- 
tract, but elsewhere they would welcome a compulsory 
system of purchase. The Ulster landlords were opposed 
to the Land Acts, because they were getting their rents, 
and all the landlords were opposed to a reduction of the 
judicial rents, because it was understood when these 
rents were first fixed that they were to be a basis for pur- 
chase. The outcry against Gladstone's Purchase Bill 
was justifiable, because it was associated with his Home 
Rule Bill, and the Act would be unworkable under Home 
Rule. Under Home Rule local guaranties would be 
sure to be repudiated, but they might answer without 
Home Rule, as in India. 

" There is a conspiracy here amounting to rebellion. 
Certain men lead it, whose language shows that they are 
animated by hatred of England, and that they are work- 
ing for what they hope will lead to separation. In speak- 
ing to their followers, these Parnellite M.P.'s say that 
no limits can be set to the march of the nation. Such 
speeches show the insincerity of their guaranties. 

" Again, historically, the Irish Parliament of the 
eighteenth century proved unworkable ; in eighteen years, 


twice coming to loggerheads with the British Parliament, 
and yet that Parliament was exclusively Protestant and 
conservative, and now it is proposed to start a Parlia- 
ment composed of the men most hostile to England. 

" I read over Gladstone's bill carefully, and marked 
sixty-two points over which England and Ireland were 
bound to come to a violent disagreement within two or 
three years. 

" The Nationalist movement here is a Jacobin move- 
ment, and like all such movements must fall into the 
hands of the extreme party. Compare it with the French 
revolutionary movement, the analogy is close. The 
priests will finally split from it, and that will make mat- 
ters worse. 

"The rural population will be inclined to make. the 
best of things at first, but the town Protestants will be 
hard to reconcile to Home Rule. ' No taxes to support 
nunneries,' will be the cry, and ultimately, I believe, the 
north will be arrayed almost solid against the south." 


"I am a moderate man," said a merchant of great 
weight and reputation, a director of innumerable com- 
panies, — " I am a moderate man, and people like me would 
see Home Rule come with the utmost reluctance, but 
would not actually resist till the Irish Parliament had 
abused its powers. 

" Unfair taxation is what we fear. Some Nationalists 
propose a general poor-rate for the whole of Ireland ; 
that would be a gross injustice to Belfast, where people 
have something to lose. 

" An Irish Parliament would be likely to resort to 
protection. If food were taxed, that would press severely 


on the artisans ; and if flax were taxed, the manufacturers 
would be ruined, for we import flax from Holland, Bel- 
gium, and Russia. 

"The Belfast Chamber of Commerce, on April 22, 
1886, unanimously adopted a resolution deploring the in- 
troduction of the Home Rule Bill, at a meeting expressly 
called ' to consider the proposals now placed before Par- 
liament by Mr. Gladstone.' The sudden fall in the price 
of all stocks while that bill was pending shows how serious 
is our dread of Home Rule. 

" Private bill legislation in Ireland is necessary, and 
the establishment of local county boards. Indeed, most 
moderate men would be willing to accept a Home Rule 
measure, provided that the executive were responsible 
only to the Imperial Parliament, and the police and the 
judges were appointed from London and not from Dub- 
lin. The police in Belfast used to be appointed by the 
town commissioners, but during the riots the force was 
found to be so partisan that a change was necessary, and 
Belfast is now policed by a detachment of the Royal 
Irish Constabulary, under the command of a town in- 
spector. So if the judges or the police were appointed 
by the Parnellites, they would lose their impartiality. 

" The views of the mercantile community are ex- 
pressed by the Northern Whig i which as early as 1881 
suggested the separation of Ulster. ' We want no sepa- 
ration ; but should such a question ever be discussed, 
Ulster as a province, with Belfast as its capital, would 
have as much right to claim separation from the other 
provinces of Ireland as the latter have to ask for separa- 
tion from the other portions of the United Kingdom ; for 
it would only be by such separation, and the mainte- 
nance, so far as she is concerned, of the Union with 


Great Britain, that the present manufacturing and com- 
mercial position of Ulster could be maintained. ' 1 

" The League has recently tried to prove that Ulster 
is poorer than either Leinster or Munster, but the fact is 
not so. The railway companies, the banks, and the 
Inland Revenue Department all pay their income taxes 
and duties to the government in Dublin. All the passen- 
ger duty of the Great Northern Railroad Company was 
paid in Dublin, even before the road was built so far. 
For all that, Dublin gets the credit. So when a merchant 
in Belfast exports a hundred cases of linen to New York 
via Liverpool, those goods are credited to Liverpool. In 
this way the error has become possible. 

" There is supposed to be about ;£ 100,000,000 invested 
in the flax and linen trade in Ulster. Some of the com- 
panies are shaky, but such is not the case with the gen- 
erality of them." 

At the Merchants' Exchange there are some six hun- 
dred members, of whom probably not over twenty-five 
are Catholics. The brief remarks elicited from one mer- 
chant after another were much the same : "In 1884 the 
Bank of Ireland stock was 342, in 1886, 249, and now it 
has only recovered to 288. What does that prove?" 
" We grow one million pounds worth of flax ; a duty of 
ten per cent, would ruin all the mills in Ireland and turn 
the trade over to the Germans and French." "If you 
will tell me what legislation would be done by a Home- 
Rule Parliament, I will tell you how it would affect busi- 
ness. We do not believe it would legislate wisely." 

One gentleman, often referred to as the leading Union- 
ist in Belfast, spoke at some length. 

" A Home Ruler would make out some case for Home 
1 January 1, 1881. 


Rule if he could mention things we want that Parliament 
cannot or will not give us. We have no special griev- 
ances here. 

"Agricultural depression is everywhere ; the deprecia- 
tion of land is as great in England as in Ireland. The 
question of the rent is rather a small matter. Twenty-five 
years ago an acre of land in Ireland would probably 
have produced from £& to jQio worth of gross produce. 
The value of that produce has depreciated about twenty- 
five per cent., so that a farm of a hundred acres would 
now make ,£600 instead of ^800. The average rent was 
25*. per acre, and the average reduction 6s. or £30 on 
the hundred acres. The cost of labor is, however, a third 
or half as much greater than it used to be. Omit the rent 
altogether and you would not put the farmer back where 
he was twenty-five years ago. There are 200,000 tenants 
who pay rent of less than jQ\ a year, that means that there 
are a million people who cannot make their living out 
of the land. They used to go to England to harvest, but 
the introduction of machinery has largely decreased the 
demand for them. The stir of capital is necessary, and 
agitation and the impoverishment of the landlords have 
done them great injury. 

" Till within the last fifteen years the peasants were in 
a condition of serfdom, afraid of their landlords, whom 
they always approached as a debtor would his creditor, 
making a poor mouth. Their votes were their landlords, 
until the Ballot Act. Since then they have obtained 
secrecy of voting and an independent interest in their 
holdings ; but as yet not half a generation has been born 
under the new conditions, and the people are now led 
blindly either by the priests or the agitators. Is it not a 
risky experiment to entrust the government to the hands 


of these people, who have never cast a responsible vote in 
their lives or not till very recently ? In England you 
have urban and rural constituencies nearly equally di- 
vided. You have artisans and mechanics and a great 
body of professional men. In Ireland the urban constit- 
uencies are in the proportion of one to sixteen, and 
there is no middle class except the small country shop- 
keeper and the merchants to be found in a city like Bel- 
fast. The whole idea of the bulk of the voters since 
1870 has been to hit the landlords and get something 
from them. Can they be trusted now to decide wisely 
difficult economical questions ? Yet the Irish are very 
able and have a genius for politics, and but for the legis- 
lation since 1870 I should be a strong Nationalist now. 

" The first legislation of an Irish Parliament would be 
apt to be dangerous. Protection is the panacea the Na- 
tionalists advance, and that would be fatal to us. The 
Irish are not accustomed to factory life, and are fond of 
feasts and holidays ; they would try to foster industries 
under unprofitable conditions, and would throw the bur- 
den of the experiment on communities like this. 

" There is almost a certainty that an Irish Parliament 
would change the national-school system and make it 
part of the machinery of the Catholic Church. The in- 
fluence of men like Davitt and Parnell is the only coun- 
terpoise to the influence of the clergy. The leading poli- 
ticians may be free from bigotry, but not the ignorant 
masses who elect them. That is true of the south and 
the west, while in the north the only politics and pretty 
much the only religion of the masses is hatred of the 

" The National feeling is chiefly fed by Catholicism. 
The Catholics don't intermarry with the Protestants, they 


don't live together, nor even dance together. No race 
feeling could be half so strong. Any legislation in the 
interest of the Catholics would cause riots in Belfast. 
Who would put the riots down ? The police ? They eat 
the police alive in Belfast. The military ? I know many 
officers who would throw up their commissions sooner 
than interfere ; and how long would the English people 
tolerate the shooting down of loyal Protestants by the 
British army at the command of the National League ? 
It would n't be a question of shooting a few rioters, but 
of suppressing the whole country-side, with the clergy 
at the head of their congregations. 

" There is no good in giving Home Rule unless the 
measure is thoroughgoing ; a system of local boards 
would be useless, because the membership would not 
give sufficient dignity and responsibility to attract com- 
petent men. 

" Representation in the imperial Parliament would be 
absurd, because Irishmen would then be interfering in 
English and Scotch affairs, which could not possibly be 
separated from imperial affairs as Parliament is now con- 
stituted. Home Rule for Ireland must then be correlated 
with Home Rule for England and Scotland. This would 
mean a complete change of the constitution, and a senate 
of some sort would be necessary in which members from 
each country could meet on the same footing. If the 
Irish Parliament, for instance, passed a law of doubtful 
constitutionality, could it be abrogated by the Parliament 
of Great Britain, in which we are not represented ? 

" When you begin to cut up the country and establish 
separate local parliaments, where are you to stop ? With 
Wales and Scotland, England and Ireland ? Will you 
separate the north of England from the south ? Are 


you going to upset the whole cart, the government of 
some forty million people, for the sake of three million 
Home Rulers in Ireland ? 

" There are certain reforms we do need. Our execu- 
tive and administrative departments are all inspired from 
Dublin Castle, and that means a very narrow clique, tra- 
ditionally opposed to the real sentiments of the great 
body of the people. Every poor-law inspector, every 
stipendiary magistrate, is appointed by the Castle, and 
that is the secret of the hatred of the government in Ire- 
land. It is not a question of parliamentary government. 
That could n't be successful so long as the two opposing 
parties are fighting so bitterly, for agitation would con- 
tinue, and extremists on each side would keep the ear of 
the people. 

" We Presbyterians object to this centralization as much 
as the Catholics do ; we are out in the cold as much as 
they are, and as things settle down will work with them 
for changes. 

" I would recommend that the executive consult with 
the Nationalist leaders as to the appointment of magis- 
trates. The private-bill legislation for Ireland might 
also be entrusted to the Irish members sitting at Dublin, 
as a committee of the House. If this were done, the 
members would soon be weeded out. Most of them now 
are regular adventurers, and under Home Rule they 
would be our masters. What we need is to be able to 
test and increase the ability and honesty of these men 
without throwing our whole constitution out of joint. I 
should like to see Healy made Attorney-General ; it 
would make a much better man of him. 

" I think the notion of ' a separate Ulster ' is totally 
wrong, but I am sure the north of Ireland would not at 


present obtain justice from a legislature at Dublin. In 
sympathy, connections, and interests the bulk of the 
Protestant north are more closely allied with England 
and Scotland than with the rest of Ireland. As to the 
lower agricultural population, ninety-nine out of a hun- 
dred would want a separate Ulster if Home Rule is to be 
given at all, and they had to make their election ; but 
they are not willing to adopt that policy yet ; they don't 
want to remove the block they now are to Home Rule. 
Many people believe that as a separate province the 
future of Ulster would be made, for the best people in 
the south say they would come here. I think it a miser- 
able alternative, for it would create a constant source of 
trouble, a regular sore. There would be competition be- 
tween the legislatures inside and out of the pale for the 
interests of particular classes. I am opposed to it also 
in sentiment, for I prefer to be an Irishman than an 
Ulsterman. We are a desperately bigoted people, politi- 
cally and religiously, Presbyterians, Methodists, Church- 
men, and Catholics. 

" At present I think that Irish affairs can be managed 
as well at Westminster, or through Westminster, as by a 
Parliament at Dublin. In time the people may grow out 
of their present state of demoralization ; the National 
movement has changed enormously from the time of the 
Fenians, and the alliance between the Liberals and the 
Nationalists will modify it still more, for the Liberals 
will not stand outrages, and don't sympathize with ex- 
treme views. In time the legislative benefits of the last 
few years will begin to show some results, and the farm- 
ers, as they become proprietors, will become conserva 
tive. After a while a better set of politicians will, I hope, 
come to the front. In five or six years then there may 


well be less danger in Home Rule, but no special 

" A friend of mine," said a flax manufacturer, as he 
drew his chair up to the table in the club, " tried to start 
a mill near Cork. The difficulty he found sprang from 
religious interference. The parish priest made him take 
on an incompetent foreman he had dismissed, and soon 
there was not a foreman or overseer under his control. 
The result was a bad failure. Even when the men don't 
care about sectarian questions, the women do, and the 
priests work on their husbands and sons through them. 

" We have had no advantage over the rest of Ireland, 
but rather every disadvantage. The climate is better in 
the south ; and we, too, have neither coal nor iron. 

" Peasant proprietorship will do one good thing. It 
will clear out a whole lot of incompetent men. More- 
over, there will then be nothing to agitate about. It will 
not, however, bring the millennium. The few shillings a 
year saved will not enable the smaller men to live here, 
and they will have to emigrate." 

Another manufacturer, not in the linen trade, but still 
one of the most successful citizens of Belfast, represented 
conservative Presbyterian opinions : 

" The Protestant Home Rulers are people who would 
not be considered by anybody, and for the most part are 
not Protestants at all but deists and infidels. 

"There are some 220,000 people in Belfast, of whom 
70,000 are Catholics, and they are the hewers of wood 
and drawers of water, and would never have been intro- 
duced into the city except from the demand for mill 
hands. Nine tenths of the public-houses are kept by 
Catholics, while the vast majority of the large wholesale 
merchants are Protestants. 


" The Nationalist success is the first result of the ex- 
tension of the suffrage to small tenants. 

" Agriculture to be profitable needs to be conducted 
on a large scale, and this is impossible with such small 
holdings. Till we get the population down to three 
millions we shall never come to any good. How can five 
or six people live on a five-acre farm ? It is necessary 
to find something else for them to do. Why does n't 
Parnell take up some of these questions, for most of the 
existing misery has nothing whatever to do with the want 
of Home Rule ? Why, too, have the National Leaguers 
never paid a poor man's rent out of their American 
money ? The other day a friend of mine was obliged to 
evict a tenant because he had been in possession without 
paying rent for eleven years, and eviction was the only 
means by which my friend could retain his title. 

"The poverty of the landlords has already ruined 
many trades. From ten to twenty years ago half our 
trade in Ireland was in stable fittings and such goods 
that the landlords can no longer afford to buy. I calcu- 
late, too, that some ^500,000 has been lost to this coun- 
try by the boycotting of hunting. 

" The people have lost more in morality since 1880, 
than they have gained by the reductions of the rent. It 
is, too, the payments to one another for tenant right, and 
not the payments to the landlords of rent, that have 
ruined so many farmers. I know many a man who has 
gone into debt for the purchase money of a tenant right. 

" The Catholics complain of not being given political 
offices, but out of ten thousand people you will scarcely 
find six Catholics fit to administer out-door relief or to 
sit on the local boards. 

" We are satisfied in Belfast fairly well with things as 


they are. We want quietness ; we don't want any radical 
change. Many things have contributed to our success : 
that we can get coal as cheaply as on the Clyde, that our 
taxes are low, the houses cheaper and more commodious, 
and that men can live better here for the same money 
than elsewhere. Here is my list of local taxes, so much 
in the pound of my real-estate valuation : ' Poor-rate, is. 
8d. j borough rate, 3d. j general purpose rate, 2s. 6d. j park 
rate (a special temporary charge), 3d.' This is far less 
than taxes in Dublin. 

" Home Rule, we believe, would absolutely ruin our 
trade. The linen trade of course could not be moved, 
but the ship-building would go. Harland himself has 
said he would not stay, and he employs over six thousand 
men. We do most of our business in England and Scot- 
land and only one tenth is in Ireland. We, and others 
like us, would go out of business. The whiskey trade 
will go. John Brown, worth about ^200,000, said that 
if Home Rule came he would close up his works and go 
to England. The banking system is altogether English, 
and the banks will be ruined. One of the first things a 
Home-Rule Parliament will do will be to establish a 
national bank, whose notes will be issued or guaranteed 
by the Irish government, and that will destroy the issue 
business of the other banks. The process of transferring 
the business houses from Belfast will be slow but inev- 

"Although I don't want Home Rule, I think the pass- 
ing of the Act of Union was bad for Ireland, because it 
created a great inducement to absenteeism, and the best 
class of people got into the habit of going to London. 

" Again, we don't want to have to go to England in 
order to get a new bridge built here. The grand jury 


system should be elective, so that we could control our 
own taxes and expenses. Primary education should be 

" Call at the Clerk's office and note the number of 
illiterate voters in Belfast at the last election. There 
are nearly four times as many illiterates in the district 
that returned Mr. Sexton, the Nationalist, as in any 
other." ' 

An enthusiastic young man, a ship-broker, carried me 
off one afternoon to the office of the only linen firm of 
which the members were Catholics. A shrewd-looking, 
gray-headed gentleman turned round in his chair to 
greet us. 

" I am not a politician, as my brother is," he ex- 
plained. " I had a strong fit of political enthusiasm in 
1848, and that exhausted all I had in me. Since then 
I Ve been merely a spectator. 

" The Protestants would be greatly indignant if we 
had Home Rule, but I don't think they would do more 
than grumble, and they will probably take every advan- 
tage that Home Rule offers. They are opposed to it not 
as business men but as politicians, they don't want to lose 
their political ascendancy. We have been for a long 
time carrying them on our backs, or rather they have 
been riding on our backs, and don't want to dismount. 
The Ulster Protestants raise all this clamor, because 
they want something given to stop their mouths." 

The figures are : 


No. Illiterate. 

Vote Cast. 


East Division 

. 228 



West Division . 

. 944 



North Division . 

. 125 



South Division . 

• 153 




" There is n't one Catholic in the Harbor Board or in 
their employment, except two brokers," interrupted the 
young man. 

" Protection," continued the old gentleman," is prob- 
ably impossible ; because if agricultural products are 
taxed, the working-men will complain, and if manufac- 
tured articles are taxed, the farmers will complain. Two 
or three years ago there was a good deal of talk about 
Fair Trade, but it seems to have died out. If I thought 
protection would come with Home Rule, I would vote 
against Home Rule. 

" I don't suppose we shall get any great benefit from 
Home Rule in Belfast in my day. Indeed, the saving 
of expense in sending our private bills to London to be 
passed, is the only immediate benefit I think of." 

" No, no," cried out our companion. " These men 
are the descendants of colonists, and still consider them- 
selves as colonists, living off the country but caring little 
for it. Won't it be a benefit to make them care for it ? 

" Again, the encouragement of our resources would be 
a great boon. There are mountains in Antrim and 
Down full of iron ore, and ^2,000 would be enough to 
make experiments and start mauufactories. Then our 
people might make the iron plates for the Belfast ship- 
yards. So with coal, there is plenty of it about Dungan- 
non in Tyrone, and Ballycastle in Antrim. The English 
government does make various loans to Ireland, but 
many of them are jobs, and very little of the money 
reaches its destination. 

" Again, we want Catholic education. The books 
issued by the Board of Intermediate Education, though 
half the Board are Catholic, contain frequently matter 
insulting to Catholics. I would n't have a child of mine 


contaminated by reading them. The national-school 
books are freer from this fault, but I would n't have my 
children brought up without perpetual religious instruc- 
tion. The government is dead to every thing Irish. 
The gist of the matter is that we live here and wish to 
prosper, and we think we can manage our own business 

" The question of religion has nothing to do with it," 
said the merchant. " If the priests had their way there 
would n't be Home Rule here for two hundred years." 

" That 's the truest thing you 've said this evening," 
replied the young fellow ; " and I will say this, that if 
you could secure to Ulster influence in the Dublin Par- 
liament, Ulster would go for Home Rule to-morrow." 

" They would go like sheep, even the educated classes," 
continued the merchant 

" Would you trust the present M.P.'s ?" I asked. 

" I would n't trust them farther than I could see them," 
cried the older man, " but no more I would any politi- 

" If we sent the English over eighty-five apostles," 
shouted the younger man, " they would find names of 
abuse to fling at them, and some would stick. These 
men are unimpeachable and irreproachable, and we 
should all feel extreme gratitude to them." 

" I don't feel a particle," said the other, " but it makes 
little difference what they are or what their motives are, 
if they get us benefits. I would take a good thing even 
from the Old Scratch." 

" An Ulster Parliament seems to me such an idiotic 
idea that no one out of a lunatic asylum could be- 
lieve in it. What is Ulster that she should have a sep- 
arate Parliament ? Statistics prepared by the League 


show that Ulster is less wealthy than any province ex- 
cept Connaught. Belfast is prosperous, but largely by 
accident. It is on the Marquis of Donegal's property ; 
and his debts were so great that he was glad to give 
blank leases for almost any thing. Lisbourne was not so 
fortunate, and the Richardsons, the linen merchants, 
tried in vain to get satisfactory leases there and had to 
go to Newry where they have built a village." 

I walked home to take tea with " the firm," and on the 
way the conversation was continued. The land question 
came up. 

" There is no man," said the merchant, " with an 
article to sell, who will not try to get the best price for it. 
The landlords have not been so much to blame after 
all. So eager for land are the people, that they even 
borrow money from the banks at twelve per cent, to buy 
a neighbor's tenant right. It will not be more than two 
generations after a peasant proprietary is established 
before a new class of landlords arise. 

" I have always believed that a man should stick to his 
bargains about land as about any thing else ; that he 
should be allowed to make his own bargains ; that land 
is a commodity like other things, and that if a man 
could n't pay for it he should leave it. But the last Land 
Act has changed my mind. The government has decided 
that land is different from any other commodity ; the 
rents are now fixed by the courts and not by the parties ; 
and free sale of the tenant right is allowed, which op- 
erates to impose on the land an additional rent. The 
present system won't work ; and the old system is de- 
clared to be false. The only way I see out of the mud- 
dle is the nationalization of the land." 

I mentioned the difficulty in the way of Home Rule, 


that if the Irish M.P's. remain in Parliament they will be 
acting on questions of purely English concern, while if 
they are excluded from Parliament, the Irish people will 
be taxed by a body in which they are not represented, 
and will be subordinated to a policy purely alien. 

" What is workable for Canada," was the reply, " might 
do here." 

"I think now," he went on, ''of some further advan- 
tages of Home Rule. You can bring goods from Leeds 
to Athlone for less than you can take them there from 
Belfast. An Irish Parliament might superintend the 
management of the Irish railroads." 

After tea the other member of the firm, the politician, 
the leader of the Nationalists in Belfast, took up the tale. 

" Home Rule," he declared, " would be an enormous 
benefit. Here are 70,000 Catholics in Belfast without 
any influence in the city government. It is true that the 
Catholics control no considerable industries, except that 
of mineral water, but man for man in Ulster I think their 
accumulated wealth would equal that of the Protestants. 
Statistics are hard to get, but during the twenty-five years 
of the administration of the late Catholic Archbishop of 
Down and Connor, his parishioners contributed over 
half a million pounds towards church buildings, schools, 
convents, and colleges. There is one Catholic spinning- 
mill in Ulster, that of William Ross, who got into the 
trade by accident. Not a Catholic could become a man- 
ager of a spinning-mill here. Hughes, the great baker in 
Belfast, a Catholic, tried in vain to get his three sons 
into the mills. The Catholics have been pushing lately 
in the tobacco trade and the jewelry trade. Brown is 
the chief Catholic jeweller, and Leahy, Kelly, & Leahy 
is a great Catholic tobacco firm. Until a few years ago 


no prominent shopkeeper was a Catholic outside of the 
public-house business. Now most of the hotels are 
kept by Catholics, — the Royal, the Prince of Wales, the 
Linen Hall, the Donegal, and the Union ; this began, 
perhaps, as an extension of the publican trade. 

" It would add strength to the commerce of Belfast if 
Catholics had a fair share in it. 

"There was no Catholic organization here till 1885. 
If we were organized properly we could upset the corpo- 
ration of Belfast, but we don't wish to do so, for we are 
peacefully disposed and want only a fair share in the 
distribution of power. 

" That the Nationalists when they get into power will 
act patriotically, without religious prejudice, is shown by 
the conduct of Sexton in Parliament. Sexton has 
brought in a bill to equalize the municipal with the par- 
liamentary franchise, though this change will enfranchise 
more of the Orange than of the Catholic democracy. 
The town council has been promoting a main drainage 
bill authorizing them to borrow nearly a quarter of a 
million pounds. Sexton has had the bill postponed on 
the ground that the council now is a mere clique and not 
representative, though the new council is just as certain 
to be wholly Protestant. Harland and Wolff's men struck 
some time ago for weekly wages, which had been usual 
till recently. Sexton, accordingly, had tacked on to 
Bradlaugh's ' Truck Bill ' a clause to give weekly pay- 
ments in Ireland, except in piece-work. Yet these Island 
men, as they are called, are the most bigoted Orangemen 
and stir up all the riots against the Catholics. Sexton 
has also brought in a local bankruptcy bill, to establish 
courts in Belfast, Limerick, and Cork. 

"Sexton, the first Catholic M.P. for Belfast, and the 


only active M.P. we have had, is a living proof that we 
don't want to set up a counter ascendancy to the 

" There will be no successful rebellion in Ulster, for 
in 1 88 1 forty-nine per cent, of the population were Catho- 
lics, and now the Catholics must be equal or more than 
equal to the Protestants. What rioting there might be 
would be easily checked by the police. There would 
have been none in 1886 if the police had been energetic. 
The riots began on the 4th of June, and continued inter- 
mittently till the end of September. Only about thirty 
persons were reported killed in that four months' fight- 
ing. As to what the police could have done, see in the 
parliamentary report ' how Sergeant Carey with only 
nine truncheon men drove a mob of a thousand men 
down Stanhope Street, and up and down Porter's Hill. 
' If every one had done so,' said Sir John Charles Day, 
the President of the Commission, " these riots would have 
ended long ago.' Was Carey promoted ? Not he ; he 
was sent out of Belfast as too good a man for this place. 

" Our day is near at hand, for as Gladstone showed 
lately a change of only six per cent, will put the Conserva- 
tives out and the Liberals in." 

" Will not taxes be higher under Home Rule," I asked, 
" and the credit of the country less ? " 

" As to money," he replied, " we have plenty of 
money, thirty-two millions of Irish money are invested in 
England. Our payments to England will be less under 
any rational scheme, for, as Sir Charles G. Duffy pointed 
out, we are paying nearly seven million pounds a year 
towards the interest on the national debt, instead of 

1 Belfast Riots Commission, 1886, Minutes of Evidence, pp. 
538, 539. 


^3,500,000. So far as I can see, I agree thoroughly 
with his idea of a constitution for Ireland. 1 I think too 
that we should be more than just to the Protestant mi- 
nority, and allow them more than their full representa- 

" The existence of Orangeism and Masonry here has 
helped to destroy the linen trade. The merchants buy 
and sell not on commercial principles, but for the bene- 
fit of their brotherhood. The system of limited lia- 
bility companies has increased this cliquishness. 

" So much money was made in linen during the Amer- 
ican civil war, that mills were built in excessive num- 
bers. Every small shopkeeper put his mite into the 
trade. The result of this over-production is that a large 
number of the spinning-mills are now insolvent. The 
Northern Spinning Company is in process of liquidation. 
The Ulster Spinning Company, with one twelfth of all 
the spindles in Ulster, some 60,000, had to reorganize a 
short time ago. 

" The large spinning concerns are largely carried on 
with deposits lent them for specified times by the farm- 
ers and the Catholics who have no opportunity of using 
their money in starting, business of their own. The York 
Street Flax Spinning Company, Limited, had, for in- 
stance, half a million on deposit, over and above its cap- 
ital, on which it pays five per cent. A business managed 

1 Sir Charles G. Duffy proposed a Parliament, with the same pow- 
ers as the Canadian and Australian legislatures, of two houses. The 
Lower House to consist of 105 members, three members being 
elected by each of thirty-five constituencies, no elector voting for 
more than two candidates. The Senate to consist of 54 members, 
appointed in the Constitution, but to be elective after ten years. A 
court of three judges is to be appointed to act as interpreters of the 
Act of Constitution ; and the judiciary at large to be appointed. 


in such a way, even though the deposit receipts circulate 
as bank notes, must always be liable to be shaken. 

Mr. James Canning, Mr. Oldham of Dublin, and Mi- 
chael Davitt, with the Protestant Home Rule Asssocia- 
tion, are trying to extend the cultivation of flax outside 
of Ulster. Our object is to reform abuses in the trade, 
not to attack the trade itself. 

" Revolutionary methods are now discredited. Davitt 
tried to draw a red herring across the Nationalist move- 
ment by introducing Henry George's theory of nation- 
alization of the land, but he will not be allowed to inter- 
fere with the business now in hand. All the old Fenian 
movement is dead now. Mr. James O'Kelly, an out and 
outer, who would be as willing as any one to head a force 
in arms, now admits that the English democracy is 
heart and soul with us, and he and Tim Healey are hon- 
est converts to the ' New Departure.' " 

Another business man, interested chiefly in the Stock 
Exchange, has the advantage of being a foreigner by birth, 
though he has lived in Belfast for the last twenty-six 
years. "Unless England," he said, "sends an army here 
to enforce obedience to a Dublin Parliament, I don't be- 
lieve that Ulstermen will pay taxes or submit to it in any 
way. What interest has England in establishing a hos- 
tile government at its back door ? 

" The welcome paid here to Chamberlain was general 
and not merely Orange. At the great banquet in his 
honor, out of the four hundred guests probably not five 
were Orangemen. The middle and the upper classes here 
are not Orange. 

" The banks here are very prosperous, chiefly because 
they have a small paid up capital and get large deposits 
from the farmers who have nothing else to do with their 


money and are contented with about one per cent, for it. 
The Ulster Bank pays eighteen per cent., the Belfast 
Banking Co., twenty, and the Northern, twelve percent." 

The views of a couple of commercial travellers may 
well close this brief sketch of the sentiments of the busi- 
ness men of Belfast. 

" Here," said Mr. S., in the commission trade in Done- 
gal Street, who has travelled through " every village in 
Ireland," — " here in Ulster we have nine counties as pros- 
perous as any in the land. We are an energetic, honest 
race, very different from the south of Ireland people. 
The successful Irishmen in America are chiefly of Irish- 
Scotch descent. The southern Irish are born politi- 
cians and form a clique in every city, but they are not 
capable of self-government. The reason is that they be- 
long to a system, semi-religious and semi-political. Here 
we are as free as any where under the sun, but the Catho- 
lic Irish have a different idea of liberty. See how they 
assaulted the English in Boston at their celebration of the 
Queen's Jubilee. They want no one to be free except as 
they dictate. The farmers, too, on the hills and moun- 
tains are very ignorant and brutal. They have no sym- 
pathy with manufactures. Now that they have the suf- 
frage, Home Rule would give us over into their hands. 

"The people of Belfast simply want to be let alone. 
They think they are doing as well as any people in the 
world. We are always on the job, and make bargains 
without telling lies. We want peace and quiet, and very 
much object to getting hurt, but when put on our mettle 
we don't give in easy. We have never been conquered, 
and never will be. I am not an Orangeman, but I am 
the kind of stuff Orangemen are made of. 

" I am not rigidly conservative. I was a member of 


the Land League till the Land Acts were passed, but 
this talk of nationality I don't believe in. I cannot look 
on myself as hemmed into a little place like Ireland. I 
want to be world-wide. Though born in Ireland and of 
Irish parents, I can go to any colony to-morrow and find 
myself still in my own country as an Englishman." 

" I have been all over Ulster," said another commer- 
cial traveller. " The farmers want the land cheap ; that 's 
the peg the whole National question hangs on ; settle 
that and all is settled. The farmers are chiefly Presby- 
terians, and all agree on this. 

" The people are very selfish and there has been an 
immense amount of land grabbing. A farmer will often 
have, say^ioo in the bank at /i a year interest. He 
cannot use the money profitably in any occupation ex- 
cept farming, but there is a farm next door which he can 
work without much increase in his expenses. The land- 
lord often in the past would say to his tenant : ■ Here 's a 
man who wants the farm and offers more rent than you 
are paying ; you must pay the increased rent or go.' In 
many parts of the country the landlords are mean and 
with but little sense of honor, and if it were not for the 
boycotting the rack-renting would have been extreme." 


The great majority of professional men in Belfast are 
Protestants and Unionists, but an able statement of the 
Nationalist position was made to me by Mr. Andrew Mc- 
Erlean, a gray-haired solicitor. 

" In the time of James I. the Irish were driven to the 
mountains' sides and the waters' edges, and the whole 
country was planted with Protestants, chiefly lowland 
Scotch. Gradually, as the rents were raised, the Scotch 


retired and were succeeded by the Irish, who would pay 
any rent. For centuries the Catholics have been sup- 
pressed. Even now, from the appointment of a street 
scavenger to the purchase of a horse, religion is brought 
in. There is only one Catholic in any public board in 
Belfast, and he is on the water board. There is not a 
Catholic official in County Antrim, and in the rest of 
Ulster the only Catholic officials I can think of are one in 
County Down, and the Clerk of Newry. Not one of the 
forty Town Counsellors of Belfast is a Catholic, and not 
one is a Liberal, except two who were elected by Con- 
servative votes and who were more Tory than the Tories. 
The foremen and managers of all the mills are Protes- 
tants, and in the banks every man is a Protestant. 

"In 1870, Professor Galbraith, John Martin, and A. 
M. Sullivan established a branch of the Home Rule 
Association in Londonderry. At the election that year 
I was Joe Biggar's canvassing agent, and Joe Biggar 
polled 89 votes for Home Rule. Now the seed sown by 
Galbraith has brought forth fruit, and Justin McCarthy 
is one of the M.P.'s for Derry, Sexton one of the M.P.'s 
for Belfast, and Ulster is represented by seventeen Na- 
tionalists to sixteen Unionists. Such is the progress of 
Home Rule in Protestant Ulster. 

" The landlords can no longer keep the white slaves 
they did, and are making a desperate struggle. Wherever 
you go — if you go where Stanley is, and where he is no 
one knows — if you want to kick up a row you kick over 
the idols of the people. That is what the landlords do 
with the Orangemen. There is scarcely a parish or town 
land in Ulster without an Orange Hall, for which the 
landlord has given the land and a subscription. There 
the Orangemen hold their tea-parties, and the landlord 


or his head bailiff presides A year ago they were call- 
ing John Morley an emissary of the Pope, and Gladstone, 
Antichrist. All this is done to preserve the privileges of 
a few landlords and their friends. Deprive politics of 
the religious element and there would not be the smallest 
opposition to Home Rule. 

" The talk about civil war is nonsense. The moment 
you place her Majesty's troops before the Orangemen, 
they will retire ; they are valiant only against the Pope. 
Is Belfast, with the counties of Armagh and Antrim, 
going to make a revolution ? One third of Belfast is for 
Home Rule, and a great part of Armagh and Antrim. 
Scotland won't interfere, for the Scotch are Nationalists 
at heart and will get Home Rule themselves in a few 
years. The Nationalists won't want to fight, for they 
are getting all they want without fighting. It will never 
be left to the people on each side of the Boyne to fight 
the question out. Home Rule, if it is granted, will have 
the sanction of an Act of Parliament and will be enforced 
by the imperial army. 

11 Moreover, the Protestants are as good Irishmen as 
the Catholics. The last struggle we had for freedom was 
in '98, and that was exclusively a. Presbyterian move- 
ment. Wolf Tone, who founded the United Irishmen, 
was an Ulster Protestant, and so was Henry Joy 
M'Cracken, who was executed in Belfast. The leaders 
of the movement of 1848 also came from Ulster — Charles 
Duffy, John Martin, and John Mitchel. 

" In a plebescite, even among the Protestants, I don't 
believe the majority for Orangeism would be large. 
Many of the best men in the town are strong Home 
Rulers, but not openly, for fear it would interfere with 
their business. A number of linen concerns have gone 


to the wall lately. Foreign competition is driving the 
trade out of the country. If it was n't for the banks the 
linen trade would cease to exist. The merchants are in 
the hands of the banks, and the banks are in the hands 
of the Orangemen. The least movement would shake 
the merchants, and that is the real reason why they want 
to keep the present regime. 

" Religious persecution under Home Rule would be 
impossible. Here are three or four million Catholics 
within a few miles of thirty or forty million Protestants. 
There are enough Protestants here to keep the Catholics 
very well employed till the arrival of steamers with the 
English army, and the army ought to come if ever such 
a diabolical thought entered the minds of the Irish 

" In the Home Rule Parliament I don't expect to see 
a single national body. It will certainly contain a 
progressive party and a whig or conservative party, and 
they will keep each other in order. 

" The arguments of the opposition are hearthstone 
arguments — arguments true only in Ulster, — not prin- 
ciples that will sway mankind." 

A gentleman of a different profession, who has gained, 
though a Catholic, a distinguished social position, is a 
pronounced Home Ruler, and his opinion on the land 
question seemed of special significance : " The Land 
Acts were absolutely necessary. It is essential to the 
prosperity; of a country that the people should have an 
interest in making improvements. The provisions of 
the Land Act of 1881 were approved by John Stuart 

" Suppose two men take two adjoining farms, thirty 
acres each, at £1 an acre. A keeps the land in the 


same state of cultivation in which he took it, and at the 
end of twenty years he is paying the same rent and 
neither better nor worse off. B thoroughly drains the 
land and generally improves it, and at the end of twenty 
years his rent is doubled. What has B taken from the 
landlord that A did not take ? For what is the extra 
payment exacted of B ? Simply for the labor of B. 
Such additional rent is a tax on industry. 

" In the matter of land purchase the imperial Parlia- 
ment might fairly vote some substantial relief to the 
landlords. They might give them ten or twelve million 
pounds, as was done at the time of Church Disestablish- 
ment, when the government added some twelve per cent, 
to the purchase money of the life interests of the clergy." 

Let us take now the point of view of a master in one 
of the higher educational institutions of Belfast, an Irish- 
man of experience and keen observation. 

" In County Down," he began, " which I know well, 
every shilling of capital expended in putting the land in 
a workable condition has been paid by the tenant. In 
England the reverse is the case. Even if the English 
landlord charges the tenant interest on the capital in- 
vested in improvements, while in Ireland some compen- 
sation is made to the tenant through the rents being on 
the average much lower than on similar farms in Eng- 
land, the fact remains that the English tenant is charge- 
able with the interest only while he is in occupation, 
while the Irish tenant, on the other hand, so soon as he 
ceases to be occupier, until lately lost all the capital he 
had invested. 

" Now the tenant has absolute security for his im- 
provements, but it will take a generation more to remove 
the feelings and habits that the old system developed. 


" All interest in Home Rule will certainly die out in 
the north, when once the land question is settled. The 
only settlement possible is by establishing a peasant 
proprietory. In Seeley's ' Life of Stein ' there is some 
account of how this was done in Germany. 

"At the same time something needs to be done for 
the landlords. As the government is diminishing their 
income, it ought to relieve them to a corresponding de- 
gree from the burden of family charges and mortgages. 
Interference with family charges is generally approved 
of, but mortgages are said to be on a different basis. 
Money was borrowed and spent, it is said ; it ought then 
to be returned without regard to the depreciation of the 
security. But would not this plan be equitable ? Sup- 
pose a capitalist twenty years ago lent ^10,000 on the 
security of an estate, for which he gets five per cent. 
Why did he get five per cent, from the landlord when 
he could have got only three and a quarter per cent, from 
the government ? Because the land was considered a 
less secure investment than consols. The two investments 
were equivalent. Now if you give the mortgagee con- 
sols sufficient to yield him the same income that his 
capital would have produced at the time of the mortgage 
if invested in consols, surely you have met the senti- 
mental objection to any interference with mortgages. 

" Antrim, Down, Derry, Tyrone, and Armagh, are 
the strong Protestant counties, and they are the flax- 
producing and the linen-manufacturing counties The 
nearer you get to Belfast, the more exclusively Protes- 
tant the country is. If the land question were settled, I 
believe that only West Tyrone, South Down, and per- 
haps South Armagh would return, even for a time, 
Nationalist members. 


" Under the national-school system here, the govern- 
ment goes so far as to provide for religious instruction, 
with the simple proviso that it shall be so given as to 
avoid annoyance to the minority. Yet what did Arch- 
bishop Walsh say the other day when he addressed four 
thousand school children near Dublin ? He said the 
Catholics wanted freedom of education in Ireland. I 
asked a Catholic inspector of schools what this meant. 
He said : ' The freedom we want is, first, to get a govern- 
ment grant without being obliged to adopt the Board 
school-books ; secondly, to have religious instruction 
unlimited as to time and place ; and thirdly, to have the 
right to exhibit Catholic emblems in the school-rooms at 
all times.' Now, such freedom of education as the Catho- 
lics want would mean in all parts of the country where 
the Protestants are in a minority, either no school, or a 
separate Protestant school, or only Catholic schools ; in 
other words, a choice for the Protestants between igno- 
rance, inferior schools, or proselytizing schools. 

"University education is made the subject of another 
grievance. The Catholics think the government ought 
to lend or give money to found a Catholic university, to 
be in the hands of the hierarchy. Is there any country 
where that would be allowed ? 

" Religious sects here have all perfect liberty to estab- 
lish sectarian schools ; but why should the government 
do so? 

" Under a Home Rule Parliament this would unques- 
tionably be done, and we in Ulster would have to bear 
half the expense. 

" For the time being political excitement has thrown 
Catholic bigotry into the background. But the bigotry 
exists notwithstanding. In South Down, for instance, 


if Home Rule were granted, the people would relapse 
into complete subserviency to the priests ; and it would 
probably be the same throughout Ireland. 

"At Richhill the Orangemen were actually drilling 
during the pendency of the Home Rule Bill. The 
Orangemen are chiefly laborers and artisans. Half the 
conservatives are opposed to Orangeism, and the higher 
up you go in the social scale the fewer Orangemen you 
find. Three quarters of the Presbyterian clergy are, 
or rather were, Liberals, while two thirds of the Episco- 
palian clergy are in sympathy with Orangeism. In North, 
South, and East Belfast the Orangemen control the 
elections, without regard to the Tories. 

" There will, I think, be fighting under Home Rule. 
There will be riots first, then repression, and then great 
popular excitement and a general rising. The beginning 
of the riots here last year was significant, one Catholic 
workman at the Queen's Island yards saying to another, 
a Protestant : ' Ah, it will soon be so that none of your 
kind will be able to earn a loaf of bread in the country.' 
During the riots the police were regarded by the Orange- 
men much as they now are by the Nationalists. They 
were called then, ' the foreign police,' ' the French police,' 
1 Morley's murderers,' as they are called now ' Bloody 
Balfour's myrmidons,' 

"Where you have a large dissenting minority, both 
sides are always intensely bigoted. In France and Bel- 
gium the Protestants are comparatively few in number 
and much scattered, so there is little danger of intoler- 
ance or persecution. A central, controlling, impartial 
government like that of the imperial Parliament is far 
more likely to hold the scales of justice even between 
two such bigoted factions than any local body." 


The editor of the principal Unionist paper may finally 
be quoted, as a practical and clever man of affairs who is 
most competent to define the position of his party. 

"The majority of the farmers in Ulster," he said de- 
liberately, " are opposed to Home Rule, but the tempta- 
tion is strong, and there is danger that if the Unionists 
do not offer them something of material benefit they will 
vote against them at the next election. As yet there are 
not a thousand Protestant votes in the north for the 
Nationalists, and this shows how wonderfully they have 
resisted the enormous bribes they have been offered. 

" The landlords have been extreme even in Ulster, and 
have offset the benefit of free sale by raising the rents. 
But there are many districts where there is no margin for 
rent at all, not through any fault of the landlords, but on 
account of the extreme prolificacy and the uneconomical 
habits of the people. Those who shout most for Home 
Rule would be no better off if they got it, for they have 
not the enterprise and the capital necessary to raise them 
above a hand-to-mouth existence. 

"The present Nationalist leaders are smart, clever 
dogs, but without any experience in affairs of govern- 
ment ; most of them are good as destructive politicians 
but would not be likely to succeed as constructive states- 
men. William O'Brien, for instance, is one of the few 
thoroughly honest Nationalists, and he is fanatically hon- 
est ; but he is a dreamy, poetical fellow who, if he sees 
poverty anywhere, assumes it to be the fault of either the 
government or the landlords. 

" If we had Home Rule to-morrow, I should expect the 
situation would be trying enough for the period of my 
lifetime. I don't fear there would be much robbery or 
shooting : but however fairly a Parliament at Dublin 

IN ULSTER. 28 1 

might govern, you could n't get an Orangeman of the 
extreme Protestant party to believe it, and there would 
be endless turmoil. As a result, the credit of the country 
would suffer. It would, however, be humanly impossible 
that a Dublin Parliament should be perfectly fair. There 
has been too much bitterness in this agitation for the 
people to become quickly just and wise. There would 
be, first of all, a clean sweep of all the officials. That 
would not promote efficiency in the public service. A 
Dublin Parliament would be sure to affect Ulster injuri- 
ously. For one thing, there would probably be a national 
poor-rate instead of the existing local poor-rates, and 
prudent Ulster would have to pay for the improvidence 
of Kerry and Clare, as well as of Donegal and Cavan. 

"What would be necessary to make Home Rule in 
any way successful would be the existence of trained 
men to draw upon for officials. If we began with an 
elective council, a grand jury for each county or prov- 
ince, with full control over local affairs, in ten or twenty 
years we should have some trained men who had had 
some responsibility, and then if they wished to come to- 
gether they could do so with comparatively little danger. 
In Scotland the people would go in for Home Rule sim- 
ply because it would bring certain practical advantages ; 
but here they would rather have Home Rule with greater 
misery than prosperity without it. It is a question here 
of sentiment rather than of self-interest. 

"Self-interest requires certain changes. Whigs and 
Tories have been equally short-sighted in not appointing 
local boards to act on the spot upon local questions. 
This is a real grievance. The last local Police Act, for 
instance, cost us probably about ,£10,000. 

" I am a Presbyterian of Scotch descent, but I don't 


believe that Home Rule would be as bad as many think, 
though I am certain that it would be so bad that I would 
rather be for a long time in some other country. 

" As to resistance to Home Rule. There is this differ- 
ence between the northern and the southern Irish : In 
the south they blacken their faces and fight at night ; 
but here they fight in the open, and face to face. I am 
not an Orangeman, but it is true that individuality here 
is stronger than anywhere else in Ireland. I don't be- 
lieve there is the organization among the Orangemen 
that was reported, but if they did turn out they would 
cause a riot very different from the riots last year, when 
the police only had to do with isolated and usually un- 
armed crowds. The Orangemen have no good leader. 
The two members for Belfast are not competent to lead 
an army of chickens, much less to head a revolt. There 
will be nothing like civil war, but merely very serious 
rioting. In the last riots I saw men marching in the 
streets of a class far superior to any I expected to see 
there, and I was amazed at the sympathy shown them by 
the better citizens." 


I met him in the train as he was returning from the 
great fair of Ballinasloe. He was a burly, rough, 
amiable man, and was soon chatting confidentially. " I 
live," he said, " two miles from Dundalk. My farm is 
near the sea, and the soil is so light that we always have 
a hard time if we don't get rain in June. There are 
only about twenty tenants on the estate, which belongs 
to the Rev. Sir Cavendish Foster. He lives in England, 
and we seldom see him, but both the landlord and his 
agent have always been kind and indulgent, never press- 


ing us, and they have made many improvements, giving 
us timber and slates when we built, and iron gates for 
our fields, and sharing in the expense of draining. 

" All the landlords about us have been giving reduc- 
tions for the last three years. Last Christmas we asked 
for a reduction of 30 per cent, on the half year's rent 
then due, but it was refused so we none of us paid any 
rent till June, when the landlord gave in. My tenancy 
is one from year to year, and I have not yet gone into 
the land courts, but I intend to go now. 

" My rent is very high — £2 $s. for the arable land per 
Irish acre. I raise chiefly corn and turnips on half the 
farm, and graze the other half. The oat crop this year 
is almost a total failure. The turnip crop is a third of the 
average. Hay is about half. For cattle there is scarcely 
any price to be got. 

" There will be no peace, I think, till the landlords are 
bought out, but I would give them fair compensation. 
A land-purchase bill would be very good if it allowed the 
tenants to buy at about sixteen years' purchase of the re- 
duced rents. We offered to purchase our farms, but the 
landlord would n't sell. 

" I am a Catholic and believe in Home Rule. There 
are many reforms necessary. The Lord-Lieutenant nomi- 
nates three men for high sheriff of each county, and they 
decide among themselves who shall accept. The high 
sheriff then has the appointment of the grand jurors. 
In County Lowth the Catholics are to the Protestants in 
the proportion of four to one, and yet this summer there 
was only one Catholic on the grand jury. The grand 
jury levies the county cess, and appoints all the cess col- 
lectors and the jail officials. The levy is often excessive. 
I pay, for instance, ^29 a year in county cess, and only 


£6 or j£j in poor-rates, which are levied by the Unions. 
Retiring county officials are paid extravagant pensions, 
almost equal to their salaries, and these take some 
^3,000 a year out of the county cess. 

" The magistrates are appointed by the Lord-Lieuten- 
ant. They are apt to be extremely unpopular, and 
many of them own no property and are totally incom- 

" For awhile Home Rule appointments might be made 
for partisan purposes, in a spirit of tit for tat, but that 
would right itself in time. As to local appointment of 
the police, which some Nationalists urge, I don't believe 
in that at all. They would favor their neighbors. The 
police should always be appointed by the central 

" The grand-jury system, then, should be replaced by 
elective boards, and the government should be decentral- 
ized. But we want Home Rule above all, because it is 
our right. Canada has Home Rule, and why should n't 
we have it ? 

" The danger of rash legislation under Home Rule is 
exaggerated. The farmers on the whole are exceedingly 
conservative ; and I believe that if we had Home Rule 
to-morrow Parnell would lead a strong conservative wing. 
I think, too, that if the land question were settled, the 
farmers would be unlikely to agitate for any thing else, 
even for Home Rule. They are exceedingly selfish. 
They are even opposed to the building of these laborers' 
cottages. They would become as conservative then as 
now they are the reverse. 

" As to the Protestants not wanting Home Rule : the 
Presbyterians about me are as thick as bats ; they don't 
dare to vote or to go to meetings of the League ; but yet 


they are very willing to accept all that the Catholics can 
get for them." 

At Cavan I left my new acquaintance, to spend a day 
in that old-fashioned, badly paved, dirty little town. 
The chief public building is an enormous jail with walls 
like the walls of a fortress. The old waiter at the hotel 
spoke mournfully of the good old days when landlords 
were rich and spent their money freely, but the secretary 
of the League, McFinley, in his spirit-grocery, seemed 
unusually full of hope and determination. 

" We are all Home Rulers here," said he. "At the last 
election, in December, 1885, I was agent for Biggar, who 
stood against Saunderson, the best landlord and largest 
employer of labor in the neighborhood, and Biggar had 
a majority of 6,564 out of a total electorate of 10,000. 

" One of the absurd anomalies of our government is that 
the county cess, over ten shillings in the pound, is levied 
by the grand jury, in which the farmers are absolutely 

" Might not that be changed without a revolution in 
the form of government ? " I asked. 

"Certainly," he answered ; "but the people think it 
best to concentrate their exertions on one reform once for 
all, instead of having year by year to push for little re- 
forms, one by one. 

" The general belief is that a Home Rule Parliament 
would be sufficiently conservative to deal with perfect 
justice with the land question. The influence of the 
Catholic clergy is conservative and all-powerful. 

" The present land system must be done away with. 
The land this season has not produced any rent, and for 
the last two seasons we believe it has been paid out of 
the capital. Every effort has been made to meet the 


" The increase of deposits in the banks does n't prove 
that the people are prospering ; the money would have 
been invested in the land instead if the farmers had been 

" Have not transactions in land been discouraged ? 
Certainly. Why not ? A high price paid for the tenant 
right, the result of competition, might have led the land- 
lord to think his rents were fair, however excessive they 
might be. 

" Land purchase, even, is not all that is needed. 
There are any number of holdings in County Cavan of 
five or six acres each. The League programme is, in 
such cases, to transfer a number of the tenants to land 
now uncultivated, and to throw two or more of these 
little plots together to make one holding of a profitable 

" Would I deprive the landlords of their demesne 
lands ? Certainly. If one of these swell landlords 
wants to keep a park, or a cover, or a pleasure-ground, 
as he is diverting the land from the use Providence de- 
signed it for — the support of the human race, — he ought 
to pay for it a tax equal to the rent that average tenants 
would pay for it. One individual ought not to have a 
thousand or five thousand acres within his demesne 
walls, while thousands outside are starving for want of 
it. These and other similar questions should be left to 
the collective wisdom of the country to settle, though 
perhaps some of the suffering farmers may be rather 
severe. This will, possibly, drive the landlords away, 
but there are already any number of residences vacant 
throughout the country, for the Land Acts have whittled 
down the rents so much that the landlords could n't keep 
their places up. There were two tobacco factories here : 


one, kept by a local landlord, was closed a year or two 
ago ; and the other, kept by Mr. Kennedy, was trans- 
ferred to Dublin. 

" Under Home Rule, there will have to be local control 
of the police. It is their interest now to make themselves 
as unpleasant as possible. So if there is a street row 
anywhere the people side against the police, or at least 
are indifferent. Mrs. Curtin of Mollahiffe might be un- 
safe if the police were appointed by her neighbors, but 
why deprive thirty-one counties of a right, because in the 
thirty-second it might be abused ? 

" Now policemen and detectives are often the heads of 
local secret societies, paid by the secret-service fund. 
They often push on the more hot-headed young men to 
commit outrages. The Sunday after the Crimes Act was 
passed, last spring, a meeting of the secret societies was 
held near Cavan at three o'clock in the morning ; and 
before six, full particulars, with the names of all the 
people present, were lodged in the police head-quarters. 

" As to the Fenians, many of them are good men and 
the people owe much to them. When there was nothing 
like law between landlord and tenant, the dread of the 
Ribbonman's bullet or of a Fenian rising kept many a 
landlord's conscience open to the law of God. Now, 
however, all are blended with the Nationalists. 

" It is an herculean task in one year to settle the fric- 
tion of centuries. If Mr. Gladstone's bill had been 
passed as it was, there would have been amendments 
needed within three years ; and what is wanted is a final 

" Parnell, at the beginning of the movement, ordered 
us to seize the Municipal Boards and Boards of Guardians, 
and now the people have done so and become educated 


by the responsibility. Delay has been a good thing for 
us, and will secure a more satisfactory bill in the end. 
Tim Healey, the Irish platform orator, and Tim Healey, 
the Attorney-General, would be very different people. 

" Many of the Unions have been mismanaged, and 
that is used as an argument against Home Rule. But the 
reverse is often the case. At Old Castle, in County 
Meath, less than twenty people received relief under the 
Conservatives, and now the Nationalist Board is giving 
out-door relief to over three hundred without any increase 
in the rates. The only thing the Nationalist Boards have 
done has been, where an unjust landlord has evicted a 
number of people and made paupers of them, to give 
them one or two pounds each a week, half of which the 
landlord pays ; and this is only fair, since the landlord has 
made them paupers. 

" In this county, the Catholics are nearly three quar- 
ters of the whole people, and outside of the landlords 
and their immediate dependents, not five per cent, are 
opposed to Home Rule. Lough, a leading Protestant 
merchant here, is openly with us, and many others are 
so in secret. You must not confound Protestantism with 
Orangeism, for Orangeism is to Protestantism much 
what Fenianism is to Catholicism." 

A few miles farther on was Clones, a fairly prosperous 
town, with several streets straggling down the slope of a 
high hill surmounted by a large Catholic church. As in 
other country towns no business seems to be done ex- 
cept on the weekly fair day, when the farmers throng the 
narrow little streets, and are succeeded the next morning 
by a troop of commercial travellers eager to fill their or- 
ders while the money is in the till. The people seemed 
peaceful and contented, perhaps for the reasons sug- 


gested by T. Coffey, a leading publican and farmer. 
" Sir Thomas B. Leonard," he explained, " my landlord, 
has sold the whole of his agricultural property here to 
the tenants, at from eighteen to twenty years' purchase. I 
bought at the lowest price of any, seventeen and a half 
years' purchase, and while I used to pay £ 16 a year rent 
I am now purchasing by yearly payments of ;£n for 
forty-nine years. 

" The landlords about here are good and have had no 
trouble with their tenants, though we are all Home 
Rulers. There is neither religious excitement nor boy- 
cotting here, and the people generally would buy if the 
landlords would sell." 


The Orange Society, though comparatively modern, 
has its roots in the seventeenth century. The siege of 
Derry was early celebrated by local feasts and proces- 
sions. In 1688 a secret society was formed among the 
adherents of William of Orange, in the army on Houns- 
low Heath, and was perpetuated as a semi-military asso- 
ciation in County Antrim. For a century afterwards the 
Protestants of the north were perpetually alarmed by 
fears of risings among the Catholics, who had been dis- 
possessed of their ancient properties ; both parties or- 
ganized intermittently, and in 1795 a riot, grandiloquent- 
ly called the Battle of the Diamond, took place between 
the rival secret societies — the Defenders, who raided 
Protestant farmers for arms, and the Peep-of-Day Boys, 
who used to get up early to recapture them. The out- 
rages that followed were so alarming that the more re- 
spectable Protestants began to organize semi-vigilance 
societies after the fashion of Masonic lodges, calling 


themselves Orange Boys ; and three years later, when the 
Nationalist feeling revived under the influence of the 
French Revolution, and the Presbyterians of the north 
united with the Defenders of the south in the highly cen- 
tralized association of the United Irishmen, the Orange 
lodges were merged into the Orange Association. " We 
associate," ran the preamble of the old constitution, "to 
the utmost of our power to support and defend his Ma- 
jesty George the Third, the Constitution, the Laws of 
the Country, and the succession to the Throne in his 
Majesty's illustrious house, being Protestants ; for the 
defence of our persons and properties and to maintain 
the peace of our country ; and for these purposes we 
will be at all times ready to assist the civil and military 
powers in the just and lawful discharge of their duty. 
. . . We further declare that we are exclusively a Prot- 
estant Association ; yet detesting as we do any intolerant 
spirit, we solemnly pledge ourselves to each other, that 
we will not persecute or upbraid any person on account 
of his religious opinions." ' 

During the Revolution of 1798 the Orangemen per- 
formed important military and police service. Two 
years later they were generally opposed to the Union 
with England, from a fear of Catholic Emancipation 
and the consequent downfall of the Protestant ascend- 
ancy. During the reign of William IV. the society was 
the subject of a parliamentary investigation, and the 
oaths were subsequently modified. When the disestab- 
lishment of the Irish Church was proposed by Mr. Glad- 
stone, the most violent and revolutionary language was 
used by the Orange leaders, and in 1886, during the pen- 
dency of the Home Rule Bill, the Orangemen began to 
1 Published for the use of Orangemen only, 1799. 


drill nightly in Belfast, at Rich Hill, and at Armagh. 
The speeches delivered at the opening of the Ballynapage 
Orange Hall in Belfast this last autumn, to an immense 
and enthusiastic audience, show the high-water mark of 
Orange feeling at the present moment. " We do desire," 
said Colonel Saunderson, M.P., "to perpetuate memories 
of the past, which we believe reflect the glory of the race 
to which we belong and the religion which we profess, 
but we do not do it with the unchristian purpose of per- 
petuating discord and hatred in this our country, . . . 
but we do it that we may teach our children, as we have 
learned ourselves, that if a day should ever come when 
we are to be confronted by a similar danger and a similar 
foe we are ready to perform the same deeds again. . . . 
We require now an organization more than ever we did 
yet. Our opponents are organizing, and therefore I im- 
press upon you and, through you, upon all my Orange 
brethren who may read these words that I employ, that 
no effort should be spared, and no stone should be left 
unturned, to make the Orangemen of Ulster prepared to 
meet a day of danger, and it may be a day of battle." 1 

The opinions of Orangemen when taken alone are per- 
haps more temperate than such words would imply. 

" The great objection we in Ulster have to Home 
Rule," said a landlord, one of the recognized leaders of 
the Orangemen, "is that we have inherited certain rights 
as British citizens, and we believe these rights will not 
be secure under a Dublin Parliament. We do not be- 
lieve that the men who have come to the front in the 
National movement are people from whom we could 
expect fair, sound, and reasonable legislation. 

" Parnell is a conservative Nationalist ; but can Parnell 
1 Belfast Newsletter, October 18, 1887. 


lead his party? The people will insist on returning their 
own favorites. No guaranties would be of any value ; 
the Irish-Americans are at the back of the Irish in Ire- 
land, and they are parties to no guaranties. 

" The recent Land Acts have been unjust, not because 
they have made our property worthless, but because they 
have deprived us, without compensation, of proprietary 
rights which many of us bought not many years ago with 
hard cash. If such things are done in the green tree, 
what will be done in the dry ? 

"Again, prejudices, religious and social, are so violent 
here that no Irish Parliament could be impartial. I 
know, on good authority, that, four or five years ago, a 
priest in County Down said from the altar : ' The time 
will come when there will be not a landlord nor a 
Protestant in Ireland.' 

"The present local boards are mere jobs, and a Home 
Rule Parliament would be of a similar character. 

" All English laws are based on the theory that the 
majority of the people will obey and enforce them. 
Here the reverse is true. The people disobey the laws 
and do every thing to hinder their execution. The 
juries, who should be merely judges of the fact, make them- 
selves interpreters of the laws. In such a state of society 
of what good would be any constitutional limitations ? 

" Some people suggest that Ireland be given a consti- 
tution like that of Massachusetts, with the imperial 
rights enforced by federal courts. But such a system 
has been successful in America only because the United 
States are composed of so many States that the interest 
of no one State preponderates. We are a small country 
next a very much larger and richer one, so that there can 
be no balance between the two. 


" It has been suggested that Ulster be given its own 
Home Rule legislature. The feeling about that sugges- 
tion in Ulster is creditable. The people believe they 
would do very well as Ulstermen, but they don't want to 
cut themselves off from the large loyalist minority in the 
rest of Ireland, who would then be left at the mercy of 
the majority. 

" We are loyal to the laws of England ; if England 
chooses to transfer us to the control of a Parliament at 
Dublin, we shall owe that Parliament no allegiance, for 
allegiance cannot be transferred, and we shall not obey 
it. Such is the simple position of the Orangemen, and I 
suppose there are over a hundred thousand of us in 

" If we refused to obey or pay taxes to a Dublin gov- 
ernment, it could n't force us to, for it would not have 
the control of the police, and half the military would 
side with us. The Unionists would begin to drill, 
and would have in the Orangemen the nucleus of an 
army. In the Belfast riots, it was the street boys and 
not the Orangemen who fought, and more serious riots 
have happened in the past, when the Queen's Island 
men have turned out in force with their riveting ham- 
mers to strike and their bolts to throw. In the case of 
such a rising as Home Rule would occasion, the move- 
ment would be taken up by the leaders and would go 
from the top to the bottom of society." 

Portadown is a smoky, bustling manufacturing town, 
the centre of an intensely Orange district. There is not 
even a branch of the National League in the place. The 
Orange Hall is a simple stone building, but the number 
of lodges that meet there regularly or occasionally is 
enormous. In Portadown itself there are thirty-three 


lodges, and within a radius of a little over nine miles 
there are one hundred and fifty-seven more — thirty-four 
in Lurgan, twenty-nine in Killylea, twenty-two in Tan- 
deragee, eleven in Richhill, twenty-seven in Legoniel, 
eleven in Gilford, and twenty-three in Armagh. The 
attitude of the Orangemen is that of stubborn, but rather 
gloomy, determination. " I don't know how we can pre- 
vent Home Rule, but I do say this, that we will not have 
it." This was the deliberate statement of one of the 
Town Commissioners, and the feeling of Portadown 
could not possibly be expressed with more precision in a 
hundred pages. Those Protestants who are not Orange 
are even more pessimistic still. " People like me," a 
substantial shopkeeper remarked, "will quietly slip 
away ; and those who stay, will never be at peace. I 
have seen them chasing the police here like goats before 

It is the fear of unjust treatment by the Catholics and 
not any theory or sentiment for the Union that arrays the 
Orangemen against Home Rule. One who protested 
most loudly that the Irish flag was blue, not green, and 
that " the Church of Ireland " was properly termed the 
Catholic Church, since it dated from apostolic times and 
had never protested against any thing, confessed that 
what Ireland most needed was " education — education 
to prepare the people for Home Rule." 

" We are partners in a mill near here," said one of two 
table companions at Larne, where I was waiting the sail- 
ing of my steamer. " We began as common mill hands, 
and gradually saved money till we were able to set up a 
bleachery of our own. We have won prosperity by our 
industry, and don't wish to help support these National- 
ists in a Dublin Parliament or in new political offices. 


The south of Ireland people are lazy and thriftless. We 
won't have Home Rule." 

" We don't believe we should get fair play from a Home 
Rule Parliament. With only sixteen members out of 
eighty-nine or more, we should be completely swamped. 
We will fight first. 

" If we believed that our interests as British citizens 
would be secure, we should not of course object to Home 
Rule ; but, as it is, we are a divided people, and oil and 
water would mix better than we do. 

" During the riots the manager of a flax company near 
here was attacked by some hundreds of his hands, 
simply because he was a Protestant, though a good and 
generous man, and we had to organize parties to sit up 
with guns in our hands to guard him at night. 

" Well, we can hold our own against the Nationalists, 
and we will fight, if need be, to keep our liberty." 


The reader has been listening to many voices ; much 
of what they say is contradictory ; and not a single word, 
perhaps, is beyond question wholly impartial and unpar- 
tisan ; but in spite of the confusion some facts seem to 
be definite and undeniable. 

From a distance the various classes in Ireland seem 
separated one from another by wide gulfs of feeling 
and interest. Close at hand they are seen to contain 
within themselves every variety of opinion, to be all 
sincerely in love with Ireland, and all dissatisfied with 
the present system of government. In the event of 
" Home Rule " there is no danger of actual civil war, 
and a Dublin Parliament, so long as it holds the scales of 
justice even, will be criticised and ridiculed but not forci- 
bly resisted. No general exodus of the merchants is 
expected. Except under compulsion a merchant does 
not go out of business, and with the exception of a few 
distilleries and iron manufactories about Belfast there 
is little business now transacted in Ireland that could 
be transferred to another country. The landlords also 
will remain for the most part, if they can. Only those 
will leave the country who are driven by poverty or 
persecution to live or to earn a living in a more busi- 
ness-like or tolerant community. Home Rule, if it does 
come, will be given a fair trial even by those who are 
hopeless of its success. 

The poverty is unquestionably extreme ; the propor- 


tion of paupers to the population is from three to four 
times greater than in England ; not only do the farmers 
generally complain of failing crops and falling prices, 
but the shopkeepers and commercial travellers, usually 
a conservative class, are also in despair ; the landlords, 
who were once large employers of labor are becoming 
bankrupt, and the laborers who used to depend upon 
them can find no work. It is true that the drink bill of 
Ireland is enormous, and that the deposits in Irish banks 
were never larger than to-day, but drunkenness is as 
often the consequence as the cause of misery, and in 
prosperous times a deposit yielding one per cent, is not 
a popular investment. Irish poverty, when it is not laid 
to the account of the government, is attributed to Ameri- 
can competition in grain and flour, a sufficient cause and 
a true one. 

The general desire for Home Rule is, it would seem, 
a natural result of the general poverty. The most pro- 
nounced Nationalists do not rest their claims on purely 
sentimental grounds, but argue that one nation cannot 
govern another nation well, and then point to the dis- 
tress of the farmers, the incessant emigration, the ab- 
sence of manufactories. The farmers and the priests, 
who usually belong to the farming class, believe in Home 
Rule, because they think it will mean the purchase by the 
tenants of their holdings at a minimum price, and pro- 
tective duties on American grain and English manufac- 
tures. In Galway the shopkeepers and fishermen expect 
a Dublin Parliament to build a railroad to Clifden, piers 
along the coast, and boats for those who need them. In 
Donegal the farmers look for a redistribution of land 
now occupied by landlords or graziers, and a rapid de- 
velopment of the resources of the country. In Athlone 


and Kilkenny vast industrial schools are expected to 
train the people in manufacturing processes under gov- 
ernment supervision. In many places the railroads are 
complained of, and it is suggested that they should be con- 
trolled by an Irish government. The people, in a word, 
are Home Rulers, because they wish to see Ireland pros- 
per and to share in her prosperity. The only means sug- 
gested to this end are the reduction of taxation and the 
creation of industries more profitable than agriculture, 
and these benefits they think will come only under Home 

A few fanatics there are who would prefer Home Rule 
and greater poverty to a continuance of the Union and 
less poverty, but they are clearly in a minority. In pri- 
vate and serious conversation a priest, a farmer, a shop- 
keeper, or a laborer invariably denounces the government 
for some particular grievance that seems to him prevent- 
able and that touches his own pocket or the pockets of 
his neighbors. In these primitive instincts an Irishman 
is not unlike other people, and of this human tendency, 
that in the course of time is sure to influence conduct, 
many of the more radical agitators are unquestionably 
afraid. It is significant that in Donegal, in Tyrone, and 
elsewhere, local leaders admit that the farmers would 
lose interest in Home Rule if the land question were set- 
tled, and that in Ballinasloe and Cork it is noticed that 
the laborers are satisfied where they have employment. 

Certain grievances are admitted to exist by men of all 
shades of political opinion : the amount of the law costs 
in proceedings in the land courts, which often equals or 
exceeds the amount of the reductions granted ; the ab- 
sence of local authority to incorporate companies for 
purposes of local improvement, to run tramways, build 


bridges, or to furnish towns with gas or water-works ; the 
non-representative character of the grand juries ; the 
excessive centralization of the government, which keeps 
it wholly uninfluenced by Irish popular opinion, which 
fills too frequently important offices with men unknown 
or without reputation or even hated in Ireland, and 
which affords Irish Nationalists of ability and political in- 
fluence no opportunity to acquire that sense of responsi- 
bility which can be given only by administrative expe- 

The recent Land Acts are certainly so revolutionary in 
character that they would be held unconstitutional in 
any State in this country, but as yet they have not been 
given a fair trial by the people. Free sale of the tenant 
right, and purchase under the various acts of the land- 
lord's interest, have been generally discouraged by the 
Nationalist leaders. Farms have been boycotted often 
for the most trivial reasons : the spite or greed of a 
neighbor, the political opinions of the tenant, the dis- 
charge or hiring of a laborer. Throughout the country 
are to be seen fields black with rag-weeds, or white with 
thistles. In such conditions farming can be successful only 
by accident. The reopening of judicial leases, however 
equitable in principle, has had the effect of finally stop- 
ping any improvements by either landlord or tenant, and 
of encouraging the tenants to regard any land act, how- 
ever advantageous to them, as a temporary makeshift, 
certain if disregarded to give place to something better. 
Such tactics are abhorrent to the survivors of the move- 
ment of 1848, and to the priests of the older generation ; 
but they, or the sentiments that inspire them, are preva- 
lent throughout Ireland. 

Among the Catholics at the present time there is little 


apparent religious intolerance. In the south and south- 
west there are not a few Protestants holding elective of- 
fices in Catholic communities, and I did not hear a word 
in Ireland spoken by a Catholic against a Protestant, as 
such. In Connemara and Donegal some feeling had been 
plainly excited among the Catholics by attempts at 
proselytizing. In the north and in Dublin shopkeepers 
and others were full of fear of Catholic aggression, and 
in the south ignorant Protestant laborers and intelligent 
Protestant landlords were as one in believing that mur- 
der and outrage would be the result of Catholic suprem- 
acy. Such alarm seems unfounded ; but one danger 
exists, and that a grave one — the opposition of the Cath- 
olics to any but a Catholic system of education. " There," 
said Archbishop Walsh, pointing to four thousand chil- 
dren of the Christian Brother Schools, " there is the pro- 
test of the Catholic people of Dublin against the main- 
tenance in this Catholic country of a system of education 
in which religion is shut out from the opportunity of ex- 
ercising with unrestrained freedom her legitimate in- 
fluence in the education of the young." As the freedom 
that is desired is the repeal of the "conscience clause," 
forbidding religious instruction and the exhibition of 
emblems, except at certain hours, it would seem that in 
the matter of education the religious line is sharply 

" Home Rule," a Parliament at Dublin, with exclusive 
control of all Irish matters, is proposed as a means for 
restoring prosperity to Ireland. This it is expected to 
do by settling the land question, by fostering domestic 
industries through protection or a system of loans and 
bounties, by founding technical schools, by reducing 
taxation, and by restoring law and order. 


The " Land Question " would severely tax the skill of 
a body of men with little knowledge of political economy. 
Mr. Michael Davitt and many other Nationalists would 
approach the subject with confidence, but few landlords 
would trust themselves willingly to their tender mercies. 
A just price is seldom paid by a purchaser who can fix 
his own terms and enforce their acceptance. Even lead- 
ing Nationalists see the danger and impolicy of such a 
course. " There can be no doubt," Mr. Timothy Har- 
rington wrote me, " as to the eagerness of the Irish 
Nationalist party to have the land question settled by 
the imperial Parliament, and settled as early as possible. 
We are all extremely anxious that a question calculated 
to excite so much feeling and bring so many opposing in- 
terests into collision should not be left to be settled in 
the early and therefore trying days of a new legislature. 
No sincere Irishman could honestly entertain any other 
opinion." Such is well known not to be the opinion of 
Mr. Michael Davitt, and these notes would seem to show 
that many of the local leaders would not consider favor- 
ably any land legislation proposed by the imperial 
government. It is also clear that Irish statesmen are 
now confronted by a very pretty dilemma. The land 
question should be settled before Home Rule is estab- 
lished, and yet no guaranty for the purchase money 
is suggested by the Nationalists, except a guaranty by a 
Home Rule Parliament. The creation of a peasant pro- 
prietary is, moreover, not the work of a year, nor even of 
a few years, and is apparently impossible, except under 
the continuous supervision of a strongly centralized and 
stable government. 

" Protection " is an article of faith in the economical 
creed of the great majority of Irishmen. The farmers 


look to protective duties on cereals and cattle to restore 
the prices of the last decade ; the shopkeepers and many 
landlords share the hopes of the farmers, in whose pros- 
perity or poverty they are partners ; and everybody in 
Ireland believes that Irish manufactures cannot be estab- 
lished without protection against the manufactured goods 
of England and the Continent, — everybody, that is, with 
the significant exception of the only successful manufac- 
turers, the Ulster linen manufacturers, and the owners 
of the woollen and tweed mills of West Meath. The 
protective system is now on its defence in the United 
States, and the chief argument of its defenders is 
that our home market is more valuable than the for- 
eign market, and at all costs must be retained. This 
argument does not apply to Ireland ; England and 
the Continent are the chief markets for Irish linen, Amer- 
ica is the chief market for Irish woollen goods. For 
manufactures of a high grade there is no demand in 
poverty-stricken Ireland ; for manufactures of a low 
grade even the demand is restricted to the necessaries of 
life. If any manufactures cannot be profitably conducted 
in Ireland without " protection," it is because those manu- 
factures cannot be profitably sold at the same price as 
similar articles of foreign make. If any manufactures 
shall be profitably conducted in Ireland with "protec- 
tion," it will be because those articles are bought at 
greater cost than similar articles now are by the consum- 
ers, the Irish people. The farmers and laborers who 
cannot pay their shop bills now will not be benefited by 
an increase in such bills in future. But the farmers will 
be recompensed by the higher price of agricultural pro- 
ducts. They may be, and in that case the bills of all 
other men in Ireland will be still further increased by 


the amount of the farmers' extra profits ; while the graz- 
iers certainly will be ruined by a duty on live stock, for 
their market is England and the prices in the English 
market will not be affected by " protection " in Ireland, 
which can raise the cost of beef and mutton to the inhab- 
itants of Ireland but to no one else. " Protection," then, 
may not affect for the worse the Irish farmers, but it will 
starve the laborers unless the manufacturers can afford 
to pay higher wages than are paid at present. This they 
cannot do without raising proportionally the prices of 
their goods. The foreign market will then be finally 
lost, and those manufactures only will survive in Ireland 
that are needed to supply the home market. Less money 
and goods, instead of more, will flow into Ireland from 
without, and the only effect of " protection " in the course 
of time will have been a redistribution of Irish property 
among Irishmen in Ireland. 

"The bounty system," which some regard more favor- 
ably than protection, is identical with it in principle, and 
produces, though more rapidly, similar results. The 
system, with regard to beet-root sugar, has been recently 
discussed in Europe and seems now utterly discredited. 
It would in Ireland require an immediate increase in 
taxation, an increase less indirect than that exacted by 
protection, and on that account it is less likely to com- 
mend itself to an Irish Parliament. 

Loans to fishermen for boats and schooners and nets, 
grants for piers and harbors, for prizes and exhibitions, 
for railroads to open up the country, for experiments and 
surveys to discover mines and quarries, for founding in- 
dustrial schools and colleges, — such expenses cannot 
easily be incurred by the most patriotic representatives 
of people on the verge of bankruptcy. 


Taxation, even though lightened by a great reduction 
in the cost of police, of which a part is now borne by the 
imperial exchequer, is not likely to be materially reduced 
for many years after the peaceful establishment of " Home 
Rule." If it is accompanied or preceded by the creation 
of a peasant proprietary, and the claims of the landlords 
have not been completely extinguished, the national 
guaranty of the purchase money or of interest upon it 
must seriously impair the credit of the Irish government. 
Expenses for bounties, grants, and loans will have to be 
met by borrowing at high interest or by direct imposts ; 
in either case the people must pay. In certain respects 
the government of Ireland will cost more than it does 
now. The members of the Irish Parliament will certainly 
have to be paid salaries from the Irish treasury ; several 
new offices must be created ; and if any large measures 
of a socialistic character are undertaken by the govern- 
ment, such as the nationalization of the land, or the 
management of the railroads, the number of officials and 
the amount of public salaries must be increased very 

One difficulty, then, in determining the question of 
Home Rule that cannot be called theoretical, is the fact 
that it is doubtful whether " Home Rule " would restore 
prosperity to Ireland, even if the Dublin Parliament 
were to do all that the people expect of it ; while it is 
certain that any practical pecuniary benefit would be 
long delayed. The faith that the Irish people have had 
in the power of the imperial government to create pov- 
erty or wealth by legislation, to change the laws of na- 
ture by Act of Parliament has been transferred to an 
imaginary Home Rule government. No change of 
government can effect a change in the tendencies of 


natural processes, whether they are called economic laws, 
physical laws, or the laws of God. If all the land in Ire- 
land were to-morrow divided equally among all the Irish 
tenant farmers, it could raise the standard of living in Ire- 
land only for a few years, In no country, in no county or 
town in any country, can the standard of living be perma- 
nently raised, or the population increase and maintain 
the same standard, without "the development there of 
some industry, the discovery of some local springs of in- 
dustry, a new appreciation of previously unrecognized 
facilities for the application of more efficient processes of 
labor." 1 So long as agriculture continues to be the chief 
industry of Ireland, no legislation can improve the con- 
dition of its people and save them from the fate which 
between 1880 and 1883 drove from Norway, that land of 
peasant proprietors, one twentieth of its inhabitants. 
The one practical benefit of Home Rule, if wisely ad- 
ministered, will be the restoration of law and order, un- 
til such time as recurring poverty shall reproduce the 
elements of disorder and lawlessness. 

The more or less theoretical difficulties or dilemmas in 
the way of Home Rule are many and serious. Of the 
various nationalities inhabiting the British Islands the 
population and wealth of England is so much the largest 
and the greatest that a federal union between them, a 
union that recognizes the equal claim of each nationality, 
as in the United States Senate, is preposterous. The 
interests of England must prevail in all questions in 
which those interests are involved, for the same reason 
that the interests of New York would prevail in the 
federal government if the United States consisted only 
of New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. No sys- 
1 Mr. L. Courtney in The Nineteenth Century, 


tern of Home Rule would be practicable, therefore, that 
gives an Irish government any control of the excise ; 
and yet it is for that purpose that the Irish mainly desire 
Home Rule. 

The analogy of Canada and Australia does not apply 
to the case of Ireland. The secession of Canada or its 
cession to the United States at some future period is con- 
templated with complacency by many English statesmen, 
as is the independence of Australia by Mr. Labouchere. 
That the cession of Ireland to France, or its indepen- 
dence, would be ruinous to England until the advent of 
the age of universal peace, proves conclusively the inac- 
curacy of such an analogy. The integrity of Ireland is 
essential to the independent power of England in a sense 
in which the integrity of no other territory is essential to 
it. The union between the two islands must therefore 
be peculiarly close, and the links must be forged of some- 
thing less brittle and more material than sentiment. Any 
local government, then, accorded to Ireland must possess 
only strictly denned and delegated powers, and the im- 
perial Parliament or some other central body must retain 
the authority and the means to enforce any measure 
judged necessary for the general safety. 

Certain principles of justice, impartially enforced by 
law, are recognized as conditions of modern civilization. 
Intercourse between England and Ireland would be 
hindered, just men without reason would be sacrificed, 
and the public conscience would be outraged, if laws 
subversive of such principles were suffered to be enacted 
in Ireland. The power of a Home Rule Parliament 
should then be still further restricted by constitutional 
provisions in the nature of a bill of rights prohibiting 
legislation in violation of contracts, taking private prop- 


erty for public use without compensation, imposing un- 
equal or unjust taxation, or discriminating against any 
individual or class. A court, appointed by the central 
authority, should then be established, to go on circuit 
throughout Ireland and adjudicate all causes involving 
constitutional questions, or questions touching imperial 
or other reserved rights. Such a Parliament, it is worth 
observing, would be unable to enact laws similar to the 
Land Acts. 

The grant to Ireland of a Home Rule Parliament, 
however constituted, and with powers however limited, 
involves a complete revolution in the system of govern- 
ment in Great Britain. Parliament now is the autocratic 
committee of a highly centralized democracy, with un- 
limited and undefined powers. The local affairs of Ire- 
land cannot be removed from the discretionary inter- 
ference of Parliament without limiting the powers of 
Parliament. Is such limitation possible ? It may be 
suspected that a Home Rule Parliament, so long as the 
government of Great Britain remains otherwise un- 
changed, will and can exist only during good behavio^ 
at the pleasure of the capricious British democracy. 

If the consideration of Home Rule is postponed till 
after the settlement of the land question, it is likely that 
many years will pass before an Irish Parliament sits in 
Dublin. In the meantime, if Irish discontent is to be 
allayed, certain changes should be made in the manage- 
ment of Irish affairs and at once. The grand-jury sys- 
tem is obsolescent, and grand juries should be made 
elective, or should be superseded by representative bodies 
with more varied powers. It is, moreover, absurd that 
the promoters of schemes of purely local improvement 
should have to apply to Westminster for incorporation. 


These, and all the more obvious Irish grievances, would 
be removed by an extension to Ireland of the Local 
Government Bill, now under discussion in Parliament. 
By that bill county councils are to be elected by the 
ratepayers for three years, to add to themselves one 
fourth their own number from the ratepayers to sit for 
six years. They are to exercise " the existing adminis- 
trative powers of the justices in respect of county rates 
and financial business, county buildings, county bridges, 
the provision and management of the county lunatic 
asylums, the establishment and maintenance of reforma- 
tory and industrial schools, the granting of licences for 
music and dancing, the granting of licences for the sale 
of intoxicating liquors." They are to have " the control 
and maintenance of all main highways, the power of 
making all provisional orders under the Pier and Harbor 
Acts, the Tramways Act, the Electric Lighting Act, and 
the Gas and Water-works Facilities Acts as regards com- 
panies "; and a variety of other powers not of a judicial 
character may be transferred to them by the government 
of the day by a mere Order in Council, subject to no 
control except Parliament and the common law. The 
powers specified are so extensive as to make the 
office of County Councillor one of sufficient dignity, 
responsibility, and experience to attract men of ability ; 
and if a salary were attached to the office, as it should 
be in Ireland, it would be the means of turning many a 
brilliant demagogue into a useful public servant. Some 
abuses and jobs might be perpetrated in the begin- 
ning ; but the people would soon learn by experience 
that few luxuries are so expensive as abuses and jobs in 
the granting of public franchises or the expenditure of 
the public money. 


In the matter of the appointment of judicial officers in 
Ireland, it would be wise for the government to con- 
sult with the Nationalist Members of Parliament, and 
whenever possible to adopt their suggestions. It is not 
always easy for a man of legal training to decide a ques- 
tion of law on grounds purely sentimental, and a few 
gross miscarriages of justice might yet be counterbal- 
anced by an increased respect for law among the people. 
All public offices should of course be filled by Irishmen, 
and Irishmen not specially connected with Dublin Cas- 

Finally, with generosity and discretion the govern- 
ment should promote works of public improvement in 
Ireland ; loans should be granted for the extension of 
railroads in Connaught, for the building of piers, for the 
purchase of boats and nets for fishermen, — and the lia- 
bility for such loans should not fall only on the districts 
chiefly benefited. In every way technical education 
should be fostered ; and primary education should be 
made compulsory, even though it have to be largely sec- 
tarian and Catholic. 

As the farmers become occupiers, as the laborers find 
employment, as the people by controlling their own 
local affairs learn to blame themselves rather than the 
English government for local discomforts, the number of 
Irishmen in Ireland will increase who will be perfectly 
contented with a measure of Home Rule far less sweeping 
than that proposed by Mr. Gladstone, and at the same 
time they will become more and more competent to 
operate with benefit to themselves and without injury 
to others any measure of Home Rule that shall be 



rfyw P^5 

Pellew, George 

In castle and cabin